By Latrishka Thomas
The Chinese government has played an integral role in many of Antigua and Barbuda’s biggest achievements over the years and now the Chinese Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda has pledged his country’s support in the future development the University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands Campus.
Chinese Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Sun Ang made this declaration at the celebration to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.
He said: “China is willing to support and participate in the future development of the university and deepen the scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries. My colleague and I hope to hold consultations with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, and management of the university on how to continue to support its future development.”
He also said that in the wake of their 70th anniversary, it is their desire to strengthen the relationship between China and Antigua and Barbuda.
“In the face of the complicated changes on the international stage, we are willing to work with you under the Belt and Road Initiative to create a new China-Antigua and Barbuda relationship characterised by equality, mutual trust, innovation openness and benefits, and committed to creating a better life for the two [countries] and to building a community of shared future for mankind,” Ambassador Sun said as he mentioned that the Confucius Institute will be launched in Antigua and Barbuda shortly.
Meanwhile, at the celebration, Prime Minister Gaston Browne referenced the fact that Antigua and Barbuda has been a beneficiary of China for the past 36 years. In fact, he said that within the last 12 years China would have invested around EC $1 billion in loans and grants to the economy of the twin-island state.
He further provided details saying that, “For those of you who may believe that the one billion is an exaggeration, let me remind you that the People’s Republic of China is presently funding the new cargo port to the tune of $250 million. There are presently two polyclinics, perhaps more appropriately referred to as mini-hospitals, at a cost of about $50 million and there is also an agricultural project that is taking place and many other areas of cooperation. So, they have presently, in excess of $300 million in active projects.”
In addition, he reminded the public that China will also be contributing to the building of several homes in short order.
“In addition, within a matter of months there will be another $100 million, approximately, that will be made available to assist in building affordable homes throughout Antigua and Barbuda, so that will amount to $400 million and, prior to that, you know that they funded the new airport terminal. They funded the Wadadli Power Plant and they gave several gifts to include the Five Islands facility as well as the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
“So you do the math, it is well in excess of $1 billion between concessional loans and would have been extended to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda during the last 12 years, so I can say without any fear of contradiction that the People’s Republic of China has been the most significant contributor to the development of this country during the last decade,” the Finance Minister added.
The event to recognise the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China was held at Sandals Grande Antigua with many other officials from China and Antigua and Barbuda present. However, the official anniversary is observed on October 1st.