Another E.C. $27 million is to be used to finance the expansion of the Five Islands secondary school building. This is to make it suitable to be used as a university campus.
The money is coming from the government of China in the form of a grant – which means the government of Antigua and Barbuda does not have to repay China.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the cash to expand the university, will be taken out of an E.C. $41 million grant from China.
“This facility is extremely timely in that it will assist in the funding of two community centres as well as the expansion of the university campus at Five Islands. Our intention is to allocate approximately 27 million E.C. dollars to expand the campus to include additional classrooms, a lecture theatre and some dorms,” Browne said.
He explained why the expansion is needed as the University of the West Indies considers Antigua and Barbuda’s proposal to make the Five Islands facility the fourth campus of U.W.I.
“It is evident that we need to expand the facility in order to accommodate the students who are likely to come from overseas and even the local students who will utilise the facility. This [grant] will help in achieving that objective of expanding the [school],” he added.
On Thursday morning, representatives of the government of Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China signed the Economic and Technology Cooperation agreement worth EC$41 million.
The school was initially built and funded by the Chinese under the previous United Progressive Party (U.P.P) administration. The grant issued back in 2012 for the construction of the school, was 75 million RMB.
Originally, the plan was to build a new secondary school, but when the Gaston Browne led Antigua Barbuda Labour Party took office, it changed the plan and said the building, which was already constructed, would be used for the university.
Last year, Education Minister Michael Browne said China had committed in principle, E.C. $56 million to expand the building for its new purpose.