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Antigua PM on Independence Day, says country has made ‘tremendous strides’ since political independenc

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Antigua, Nov. 1, CMC – Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the nation has made tremendous strides since gaining political independence from Britain in 1981.

In his message to mark Independence Day, Browne warned those, who according to him “seek to halt the government’s economic recovery programme or to derail projects that bring new investment, greater employment and more revenues”.

“They do not serve the nation, they serve their narrow political interests,” he said.

The Prime Minister who sought to defend his administrations economic recovery programme, said the fragile economy was inherited.

“We inherited a decimated economy, which contracted by approximately 25 percent,” he said. “Salary payments and pension payments were consistently late, loans from the People’s Republic of China, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and many others were delinquent, and over US$300 million dollars in local supplier credit were unpaid.”
Browne said many hotels were closed, and that several were operating with “derelict properties,” stating that “the net effect of this carnage is that over 10,000 of our citizens were put out of work.”

In addition, he said subscriptions to regional and international institutions were up to 10 years in arrears.

“Antigua and Barbuda was a land of calamity, gripped by economic distress and social decline,” he said. “I say this, not to shirk from my government’s responsibility to fix the calamity we inherited but, to remind the nation of its origin. My Government did not create these problems, we inherited them, and we are committed to resolving them.”
However, despite the challenges, the Prime Minister said as the national celebrates the 34th anniversary of political independence, it is “on the cusp of greater things.”

He stated that with election of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), ‘the people decided to set things right,” by restoring “vision to our governance.

“You replaced vacillating and inept managers with decisive leadership; you helped to reinvent government and made it fit for purpose,” he said. “Our government is a catalyst for new ideas with opportunity for all and a collective responsibility to grow the economy to allow our people to prosper.

“Thanks to your intervention our country has been spared the wrath of total destruction and is stable today,” Browne told the nation. “New ideas, new vision and new purpose have pulled our economy back from the precipice of disaster on which it teetered.”

He said had quick initiatives, such as broadening the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) not been taken, “no government would have been able to maintain full employment in the public sector and to deliver the services the community has a right to expect.”

The prime minister said increased revenues from the CIP, even as his administration has tightened the criteria for qualification and instituted more intense due diligence procedures, “provide the means to improve the heavy debt service burden and to meet the government’s obligations to the people.”

Similarly, he said a more responsive approach to investors – both foreign and local – has “lifted the heavy hand of bureaucracy and procrastination, and opened doors that had been closed to investment.”

Browne said his government has “tossed aside the begging bowl that robbed us of dignity and reduced us to dependent supplicants.”

In its place, he said the administration has “set out a viable economic paradigm in which donors became our partners in enterprises from which they derive a financial benefit, while ensuring that the majority ownership and share of the profits come.

He thanked the citizens – including nurses, teachers, security forces, professionals, entrepreneurs, and skilled and non-skilled workers – “who toiled to build our beloved homeland.

“Our forebears have left the present generation a great legacy on which to build,” he said. “They were united by their common aspiration to build a stronger and more prosperous nation for themselves and for future generations.”

Notwithstanding political differences, Browne urged that the extant generation to continue the forebears’ tradition by putting the national interest first, “resisting all temptations for fleeting partisan, political gain.

“The pursuit of such narrow self-interests is opportunistic and destructive,” he warned. “After many years of decline, it is imperative that we work collectively to recover those losses and to establish a new sustainable platform of economic growth and development for the advancement of our nation.

“Our vulnerable and fragile economy requires the cooperation of all and the success of our government,” he added. “That is why my Government continues to work unrelentingly for your development with a firm resolve to improve the living standards of all.”

The Antigua and Barbuda leader said there is much that can and will be achieved in the years ahead, including the transformation of the country into an “economic powerhouse in the Caribbean.”

But, to do so, he said “hard work, determination and unity of purpose” are needed.

He said this year will mark “yet another year of growth in our economy after several years of stagnation and decline that your government inherited,” adding that next year will be better, “as the many projects, now in the mobilisation stage, move to implementation.

“Together, as a nation, we stand on the mountain top of a bright new era,” he said. “Let us pledge, as the strong, solid society that we are, to grab the opportunities together to rebuild our one nation and make it great for all who dwell within her shores.”

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Antigua, Nov. 1, CMC – Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the nation has made tremendous strides since gaining political independence from Britain in 1981.

In his message to mark Independence Day, Browne warned those, who according to him “seek to halt the government’s economic recovery programme or to derail projects that bring new investment, greater employment and more revenues”.

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“They do not serve the nation, they serve their narrow political interests,” he said.

The Prime Minister who sought to defend his administrations economic recovery programme, said the fragile economy was inherited.

“We inherited a decimated economy, which contracted by approximately 25 percent,” he said. “Salary payments and pension payments were consistently late, loans from the People’s Republic of China, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and many others were delinquent, and over US$300 million dollars in local supplier credit were unpaid.”
Browne said many hotels were closed, and that several were operating with “derelict properties,” stating that “the net effect of this carnage is that over 10,000 of our citizens were put out of work.”

In addition, he said subscriptions to regional and international institutions were up to 10 years in arrears.

“Antigua and Barbuda was a land of calamity, gripped by economic distress and social decline,” he said. “I say this, not to shirk from my government’s responsibility to fix the calamity we inherited but, to remind the nation of its origin. My Government did not create these problems, we inherited them, and we are committed to resolving them.”
However, despite the challenges, the Prime Minister said as the national celebrates the 34th anniversary of political independence, it is “on the cusp of greater things.”

He stated that with election of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), ‘the people decided to set things right,” by restoring “vision to our governance.

“You replaced vacillating and inept managers with decisive leadership; you helped to reinvent government and made it fit for purpose,” he said. “Our government is a catalyst for new ideas with opportunity for all and a collective responsibility to grow the economy to allow our people to prosper.

“Thanks to your intervention our country has been spared the wrath of total destruction and is stable today,” Browne told the nation. “New ideas, new vision and new purpose have pulled our economy back from the precipice of disaster on which it teetered.”

He said had quick initiatives, such as broadening the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) not been taken, “no government would have been able to maintain full employment in the public sector and to deliver the services the community has a right to expect.”

The prime minister said increased revenues from the CIP, even as his administration has tightened the criteria for qualification and instituted more intense due diligence procedures, “provide the means to improve the heavy debt service burden and to meet the government’s obligations to the people.”

Similarly, he said a more responsive approach to investors – both foreign and local – has “lifted the heavy hand of bureaucracy and procrastination, and opened doors that had been closed to investment.”

Browne said his government has “tossed aside the begging bowl that robbed us of dignity and reduced us to dependent supplicants.”

In its place, he said the administration has “set out a viable economic paradigm in which donors became our partners in enterprises from which they derive a financial benefit, while ensuring that the majority ownership and share of the profits come.

He thanked the citizens – including nurses, teachers, security forces, professionals, entrepreneurs, and skilled and non-skilled workers – “who toiled to build our beloved homeland.

“Our forebears have left the present generation a great legacy on which to build,” he said. “They were united by their common aspiration to build a stronger and more prosperous nation for themselves and for future generations.”

Notwithstanding political differences, Browne urged that the extant generation to continue the forebears’ tradition by putting the national interest first, “resisting all temptations for fleeting partisan, political gain.

“The pursuit of such narrow self-interests is opportunistic and destructive,” he warned. “After many years of decline, it is imperative that we work collectively to recover those losses and to establish a new sustainable platform of economic growth and development for the advancement of our nation.

“Our vulnerable and fragile economy requires the cooperation of all and the success of our government,” he added. “That is why my Government continues to work unrelentingly for your development with a firm resolve to improve the living standards of all.”

The Antigua and Barbuda leader said there is much that can and will be achieved in the years ahead, including the transformation of the country into an “economic powerhouse in the Caribbean.”

But, to do so, he said “hard work, determination and unity of purpose” are needed.

He said this year will mark “yet another year of growth in our economy after several years of stagnation and decline that your government inherited,” adding that next year will be better, “as the many projects, now in the mobilisation stage, move to implementation.

“Together, as a nation, we stand on the mountain top of a bright new era,” he said. “Let us pledge, as the strong, solid society that we are, to grab the opportunities together to rebuild our one nation and make it great for all who dwell within her shores.”