No country in the world, not even the most powerful, can grow and further develop without foreign investment, regardless of how active its local investors are. Antigua and Barbuda is no different,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated in addressing the contributions of international partners to the development of the state.
Delivering the 2019 Budget Statement, Prime Minister Browne noted that in 2018, several countries and institutions invested in the country’s development through technical assistance, grants and loans.
“I take this opportunity to thank all who have made contributions of whatever size. Every cent counts. And we are very grateful. Mr. Speaker, it would be wrong of me not to make special mention of three countries that have particularly contributed to our nation’s well-being – namely the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Cuba and the People’s Republic of China,’ PM Browne said.
The country’s leader spoke about the Government of Venezuela writing-off 50 percent of the debt owed to PDVSA for fuel imported under the Petro Caribe Initiative. This debt write-off amounts to $250 million.
“That is a significant gift to our people, Mr. Speaker, and one that we should acknowledge with great and resounding appreciation. The people of Antigua and Barbuda will remember the assistance of Venezuela and its people well into the future,” he said.
Prime Minister Browne also outlined that his government will continue to urge a resolution of the internal differences in Venezuela, and pledge support for whatever his government might be able to do, to set the country of the liberator, Simon Bolivar, firmly on its feet, in service to all its people.
The country’s leader also made mention of the contributions of the government and people of the Republic of Cuba.
He noted that the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba, despite the continued imposition of the inhumane embargo by the United States, continue to provide educational, medical and technical assistance to countless countries in the region and around the globe.
“Antigua and Barbuda has benefitted tremendously from the generosity of the Republic of Cuba. Hundreds of our people have received professional qualifications, free of charge, from the Republic of Cuba and are making meaningful contributions to our state. We thank the Republic of Cuba for their continued generosity in the field of healthcare, medicine, infrastructural development and education,” PM Browne stated.
The country’s leader was also high in his appreciation for the support received from the People’s Republic of China.
“In 2018, no other country or institution has contributed more to our development pursuits than the People’s Republic of China. China has committed over $400 million in grants and concessional loans to fund the development of the St. John’s Port, the Knuckle Block Project, the proposed housing development, two polyclinics, and non-lethal military equipment and supplies. They have also provided technical assistance in many areas, including healthcare, education and agriculture,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
Prime Minister Browne also noted that his government values the relationship with China, as clearly China has valued its relationship with his country, despite the huge difference in size and resources.
“The relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Antigua and Barbuda, demonstrates that, in international relations, countries are well-served by mutual respect and cooperation,” PM Browne concluded.