Antigua and Barbuda marked its 42nd anniversary of political independence with Prime Minister Gaston Browne acknowledging the nation’s resilience and achievements despite numerous challenges. In a radio and television broadcast, Browne emphasized the population’s ability to endure powerful storms, economic shocks, and global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the Russian war on Ukraine.
Browne proudly shared the remarkable economic progress, citing a staggering 25% aggregate growth over the past three years. According to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Antigua and Barbuda’s growth is forecasted at 9.5% this year, positioning it as the second fastest-growing economy in the Hemisphere. Browne expressed confidence in maintaining this growth, with ECLAC predicting over 8% for the next year.
?? Antigua & Barbuda: 9.5% (ECLAC) https://t.co/bbKgLcISXb
— J'Moul Francis (@jmoulfrancis) September 6, 2023
The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to education, noting substantial advancements and increased scholarships for higher education. Browne painted a promising picture of the future, stating that ongoing and upcoming projects, such as the PLH and Paradise Found initiatives in Barbuda and the Sunwing Chic hotel, will stimulate economic growth and create over 800 new jobs.
Browne underscored the often-overlooked aspects of political stability, democracy, and human rights that contribute to Antigua and Barbuda’s attractiveness for investment. He proudly declared an absence of political prisoners and a commitment to freedom of expression and media debate. In contrast to nations lacking such stability, Browne emphasized the retention of local talent and foreign investment.
While celebrating achievements, Browne acknowledged existing challenges such as water production, road infrastructure, and the need for more robust social welfare programs. He stressed the importance of overcoming poverty, framing it not as a charitable gesture but as a recognition of every person’s right to a life lived with respect and dignity.
In his closing statements, Prime Minister Browne expressed optimism about the radiant potential of Antigua and Barbuda’s future. He highlighted upcoming projects set to expand economic opportunities and called for continued commitment to peace, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. While challenges persist, Browne’s confidence in the nation’s ability to overcome them echoed the spirit of resilience that has defined the past four decades.