New York – 25th October 2021 – Antiguans and Barbudans joined hands across the diaspora to give thanks for 40 years of nationhood during a Service of Thanksgiving this past Sunday at the Westchester United Methodist Church in the Bronx.
The service featured the rich blend of voices of the Antigua and Barbuda International Chorale, the melodic strains of the pan played by the Gomes brothers accompanying uplifting patriotic songs and a sermon that reflected on the past 40 years delivered by Antiguan native Dr. David Newton.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne also addressed the congregation and other members of the diaspora who joined the service through the church’s online platform, which has become extremely useful as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.
He heaped praise on Antiguans and Barbudans living abroad for their sterling contribution to the country’s development over the past forty years.
“You have built homes. You have dispatched barrels of supplies and necessities with regularity. You have made your apartments available for those of your relatives who have come to study and work in the great cities of your adopted homes. You are the greatest!” Prime Minister Browne stated.
Referencing the current circumstances caused by the global pandemic, Prime Minister Browne further guaranteed that he will make every effort to ensure that economic growth well exceeds that of the COVID-19 period.
“As we complete four decades of sovereignty, we step on to the platform leading to the fifth decade. The diaspora is expected to continue playing an important role, and my government will ensure your participation,” Prime Minister Browne affirmed.
Also in attendance at Sunday’s service was Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations H.E. Dr. Walton Webson.
Webson recognized the 40th anniversary but also used the occasion while addressing the service to offer condolences to the families in the diaspora as well as those in Antigua and Barbuda who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.
“I do wish the families strength in these times and to hang on in love and prayer in these times. Know that God is on your side and know that despite the hard and difficult times we face, whether it is here or back home, there is light at the end of the tunnel as long as you hold on with Christ,” Ambassador Webson shared.
In delivering the sermon, Dr. Newton asked for God’s blessings on the leadership of the nation that its members may be provided with the wisdom to guide Antigua and Barbuda through these challenging times.