Prime Minister Gaston Browne is set to receive the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) Legacy Award for leadership in facilitating nation-building, strengthening regional alliances, and creating a legacy that future generations can build on.
According to a release from the government’s Director General of Communications, Maurice Merchant, Browne will travel to New York this week and will be presented with the prestigious award on Thursday.
In his letter to Prime Minister Browne to announce the award, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles said AFUWI is proud of Browne’s 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 plant 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,” Sir Hilary wrote.
Sir Hilary 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 fifth campus housed on lands at Five Islands.
“This facility provides easier access to tertiary education for your citizens and citizens from the other OECS countries,” he noted.
The awards gala is themed “Together, through our resilience and determination, we can conquer any adversity,” which Sir Hilary deems appropriate due to Prime Minister Browne’s forceful discourse on the issue of climate change, the communique added.
Sir Hilary also commended Browne for what he described as his signature brand of excellence and leadership, adding that he will be among a select group of Caribbean leaders who were previous awardees to include Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Allen Chastanet, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Dr Hubert Alexander Minnis, PJ Patterson, Tillman J Thomas, and David Thompson.