Prime Minister Gaston Browne (2nd L) with executives of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne has officially informed the principals of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) of his government’s desire for the Five Islands Secondary School now under construction, to be converted into the University College of Antigua and Barbuda.
Before leaving on an official visit to China, Browne toured the facilities at Five Islands with Chinese Ambassador Ren Gongping, during which he indicated his government’s desire to upgrade the facility to become the first campus of the University of Antigua and Barbuda. He noted that the new proposal will include student dorms, an expanded library, expanded ICT facility, Olympic size swimming pool and tennis courts.
The country’s leader also announced that he has already commenced discussions with the University of the West Indies to partner with Antigua and Barbuda towards the establishment of the university. He stated that his government will be moving towards appointing a national committee with a corresponding committee from the University of the West Indies to produce a proposal for collaboration and a timeframe for implementation.
Browne is expected to finalize an agreement for US$18 million towards the expansion of the facility at Five Islands during his visit to China
During the meeting with the CCECC heads, Browne and his delegation also received an update on the proposed harbour project, which will see the redevelopment of the St John’s Harbour area to include container and cruise ship sections, a logistics area, a hotel, museum and marina and boulevard with connected facilities.
Browne said that CCECC is very important to strengthening the business relations between China and Antigua and Barbuda and he is confident that, after his visit, cooperation and trade will be heightened. He said that his government’s desire to strengthened relations is demonstrated in its recent decision to abolish the requirement for visas for Chinese nationals to visit Antigua and Barbuda.
He said that the harbour project is most important to Antigua and Barbuda’s infrastructural and economic development and CCECC’s track record places them at the forefront for the development. Browne also indicated that his government is prepared to enter into a public private partnership arrangement with CCECC for the construction of an additional hotel and shops in the area.