Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne (front R) in China
BEIJING, China -- Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne on Tuesday successfully negotiated an assistance package for Antigua and Barbuda for over 200 million RMB (US$32.5 million) from China.
In discussions with Browne, Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, spoke of the close relationship that exists between Antigua and Barbuda and China and outlined a programme for development assistance in the interest of all Antiguans and Barbudans.
After an hour of talks, Li agreed to the following development assistance for Antigua and Barbuda:
1. The provision of a 70 million RMB grant for the implementation of projects to be agreed upon between the two governments;
2. The provision of a 30 million RMB interest free loan for projects to be agreed upon between the two governments. The loan has a ten-year moratorium with repayments to be made between October 2024 and September 2034;
3. The provision of goods worth 20 million RMB for enhancing Antigua and Barbuda’s capacity in addressing the effects of climate change. The project will also include the installation of equipment, training of staff and technical support;
4. The provision of an eight-member ophthalmologist medical team to carry out a cataract surgery clinic called Bright Journey. The team will be in Antigua for one month carrying out surgical procedures at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre during the first half of 2015. Upon completion of the clinic, the team will donate all surgical equipment, lenses and other supplies to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre;
5. Provide financing for the deep water harbour development project upon completion and approval of designs. The deep water harbour development will include container and cruise ship sections, a logistics area, a hotel, museum and marina and boulevard with connected facilities;
6. The provision of additional educational scholarships for qualified Antiguan and Barbudan students to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies along with technical training in selected areas;
7. Provide assistance in the establishment of the University of Antigua and Barbuda and a Chinese language teaching programme in secondary schools.
Commenting on the outcome of the talks with Li, Browne said that Antigua and Barbuda and China have enjoyed warm and friendly relations since their inception in 1983, and each year they seek to strengthen the friendship and expand cooperation.
“The People’s Republic of China has been generous to Antigua and Barbuda over the years and has provided critical support to the development efforts of the Government. We are very grateful for this,” Browne added.
On Wednesday, Browne and his delegation were due to meet with President Xi Jinping.