Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda marked its 41st anniversary of independence on Monday, November 1. In his speech, Gaston Browne, prime Minister, highlighted the nation’s most prominent achievements since its liberation.
He stated, “My fellow citizens of Antigua & Barbuda. We celebrate our country’s development and the 41 years it has now been politically independent under the slogan “Moving forward with Unity, Strength, and Stability.” We must all maintain respect for our country’s independence honouring the sacrifices made by our ancestors and offering thanks to God for our successes over the past 41 years”.
Minister Browne emphasized, “We have successfully advanced and improved the welfare of our people over this time, producing a significantly greater standard of life than we inherited”.
“We created more jobs with higher wages and better quality, built roadways beyond imagination, built more homes, gave more people ownership than in the previous three centuries, and educated more people at the secondary and university levels. These were extraordinary achievements completed in a short period of time”.
“There are several reasons to feel proud of our nation”, Minister Browne said while indicating infrastructure development in 41 years.
He mentioned schools for kids guaranteeing education for everyone, seven million gallons of potable water produced daily by reverse osmosis technologies and delivered to everyone, electricity, street lighting everywhere that was a luxury in the past, and the highest per capita in the Caribbean. Sir Lester Bird Hospital provides the best facilities for ailments the nation has enjoyed.
The former finance minister Harold Lovell’s tenure resulted in a loss of ten years, as Prime Minister Browne noted in his speech. A well-known financial beginner was mistakenly given control over the country’s economic affairs for almost ten years.
Many people could not pay their debts and mortgages and lost their homes, automobiles, and other possessions—the four years of economic decline from 2009 to 2014 damaged growth opportunities.
The nation’s advancement was halted under Lovell’s leadership, who is regarded as the worst finance minister in the country’s history.
He continued, “despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and the turmoil caused by the effects of the Russian war against Ukraine, Everyone’s money in the bank is secure; firms are no longer in misery; the banking system is stable; average national income has returned to a high level, and our Government has established successful mechanisms to give relief to the vulnerable.”
Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, which devastated the economies of numerous nations worldwide, Minister said, “We bravely and effectively developed and implemented a practical policy of working and living with COVID-19. The virus caused about 7 million deaths and has infected more than 630 million people worldwide. We have kept the number of COVID-19 deaths in our society to 146 over more than two years, from March 2020 to the present. This is 0.15% of the total number of people in our community”.
Very few nations in the world have made the same accomplishment.
The ABLP government instantly implemented competent, effective, and loving measures that kept people safe and guaranteed a better future.
Browne stressed that nothing about this happened by chance. Planning, vision, careful implementation control, the strategic use of limited resources, and planning were all necessary. The most incredible challenges any government has ever faced include maintaining economic survival and growth while protecting the lives of our citizens from a terrifying disease the modern world has ever witnessed.
Speaking about the terms of wages, he expressed that the government will raise the salaries and earnings of public employees before the end of this year. It depends on the outcomes of ongoing negotiations.
This industry shows how authoritarian and dedicated the ABLP government is to reduce the current effects of global circumstances on the welfare of our people. We will no longer collect payments on energy and water bills past due as of November 2, provided the invoices for 2022 have been fully paid.
Understanding the demands of the migrant community, the government also reduce internet costs for less fortunate students. From November 1, 2022, we will cut all immigration extension fees to $150, particularly for those from our sister Caribbean countries who are working and contributing to the country’s development but also struggling because of the effects of global conditions.
In the end, Prime Minister remarked, ” Let’s move everyone in our nation toward the next stage of development, where our feet are securely planted. Let’s strive to restore the spirit of our nation’s togetherness, remembering with a constancy that when other efforts support one endeavour, everyone may succeed. We can’t and won’t fail because of our shared religion. Happy birthday, American independence. God bless you, and may He continue to bless our lovely Antigua and Barbuda.”