Officials from various ministries and members of the St. John’s Rural West Constituency gathered yesterday for the formal handing-over of the Grays Green Community Centre.
There it was announced that the head of China’s diplomatic presence in Antigua and Barbuda – who has played a key role in bringing the Grays Green project and several other Chinese-funded development throughout the country to fruition – will be accorded a national honor.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “A week ago, the honors committee met and I am told both the opposition – to include the Leader of the Opposition and the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party – agreed unanimously to confer a national honor on Ambassador Wang.”
At the handing-over ceremony held in Grays Farm at the former “Knuckle Block” complex, the Prime Minister reminded the public of the many grants to Antigua and Barbuda by the People’s Republic of China.
“This very project of which we are having a handing-over ceremony was a grant in excess of $20 million, compliments the government and people of the People’s Republic of China,” he stated.
Browne further stated that the Sir Vivian Richards stadium was a $70 million grant from the Chinese.
The portfolio of ongoing projects in the twin-island state being done with Chinese funding and assistance also includes two polyclinics – one in Villa, the other in Willikies – which, according to Browne, cost in excess US $10 million.
The Prime Minister therefore continued to express his appreciation for all the work done by the Chinese delegation in Antigua and Barbuda, declaring that the best is yet to come.
He noted that the People’s Republic of China approved a grant of $90 million to help provide social housing for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
“No other government, no other country in the history of our country would have done more for the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda than the government and people of the People’s Republic of China,” Browne said.
The handing over ceremony featured a presentation of a symbolic key to the facility from Ambassador Wang Xianmin of the People’s Republic of China to Prime Minister Gaston Brown.
Though the community centre was handed over, it will not be officially opened to the public as it will be used to temporarily house the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court.
Some features that can be expected when the facility opens are fitness or exercise activities, computer classes and tutoring services.
The Parliamentary Representative for the St. John’s Rural West Constituency, Londel Benjamin, also stated that the facility will be used by schools within that zone.