Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister Gaston Browne will later this week receive the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) prestigious Legacy Award for his leadership, which facilitates nation-building, strengthens regional alliances and creates a legacy that future generations can build on.
In his letter to Prime Minister Browne announcing the award, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Hilary Beckles, said AFUWI is proud of Prime Minister Browne’s stellar accomplishments as Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Corporate Governance.
“Your passion and commitment to improving the lives of the people of your country are evidenced by the many initiatives you and your administration have implemented to address matters germane to nation-building. These include increasing the housing stock, reducing unemployment, improving health care via the upgrade of plants and equipment, increasing the number of medical practitioners, infrastructure upgrades of airports and seaports, funding for venture capital and entrepreneurial endeavours, and increasing investment in building a robust and competitive tourism industry,” Hilary wrote.
Hilary Beckles also highlighted their shared interest in increasing access to education for all Caribbean nationals and the vital role education plays in advancing the development agenda. “Increases in the capacity in primary and secondary schools and upgrade of physical plants are stark testimony of your commitment. It is, therefore, no wonder that Antigua and Barbuda is the site of The UWI’s 5th Campus housed on lands at Five Islands. Sir Hilary noted that this facility provides easier access to tertiary education for your citizens and citizens from the other OECS countries,” Hilary noted.
The Awards Gala to be held in New York City on Thursday is themed “Together, through our resilience and determination, we can conquer any adversity.” This, Hilary said, is a perfect background due to Prime Minister Browne’s forceful and unapologetic discourse on the issue of Climate Change, citing the apparent absence of urgency by the developed and industrialized nations to arrest the crisis meaningfully.
“Part of your abiding legacy will be the ability of the people of Antigua and Barbuda to leverage their resilience and determination to overcome challenges and to be better for it in the aftermath. The remarkable resurgence of your country’s economy, post the devastation caused by hurricanes Maria and Irma, also stand as a formidable reference in the annals of history,” Hilary pointed out.
In concluding his letter, Hilary commended Prime Minister Browne for his signature brand of excellence and leadership in his role as Prime Minister. He outlined that he will be among a select group of Caribbean leaders who were awardees, including Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Allen M Chastanet, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Dr Hubert Alexan-der Minnis, PJ Patterson, Tillman J. Thomas, and the late David Thompson.
Prime Minister Browne will travel to New York to accept the award.