NEW YORK, USA: Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board for the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, met on Monday and signed off on a new financial arrangement to service Antigua and Barbuda’s debt to the fund.
During the discussions Sheikh Sabah signaled his country’s delight in reengaging Antigua and Barbuda and expressed happiness from the members of the board of the fund that Antigua and Barbuda is taking a bold step in reengaging the fund. The Chairman also indicated that Antigua and Barbuda can now begin to explore ways in seeking more partnership with the fund and invited the Prime Minister to seriously consider this proposal
Prime Minister Browne said that he welcomed the opportunity to rebuild strong ties with Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. “By being here today it shows Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to rebuilding friendships and reestablishing trust, which was a key principle in his election campaign. One of my government’s priorities is to correct past wrongs, fulfill past obligations and set Antigua and Barbuda on a better path,” he said.
The Prime Minister thanked the Chairman for the invitation for Antigua and Barbuda to reengage the fund, however he cautioned that Antigua and Barbuda’s reengagement will be based on partnerships and investments that have tangible benefits for Antigua and Barbuda without incurring additional national debts.
Discussions were held on the possibility of Kuwait assisting with a sewage system for St. John’s and both parties agreed that these talks will begin in Lima, Peru in October during the annual IMF meeting.
Prime Minister Browne also used the opportunity to invite the Chairman to pay a visit to Antigua and Barbuda.
The new agreement signed will see Antigua and Barbuda making twice yearly payments on the outstanding debt to the Kuwait Fund and it also paves the way for the reengagement of the Fund in Antigua and Barbuda and opens avenues for the formulation of measures for debt relief.
The Kuwait Fund has provided loans to Antigua and Barbuda for the construction and renovation of the parallel taxiway at the airport, All Saints Road rehabilitation and the American Road to Airport road construction.
Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation during the signing ceremony included Foreign Minister, the Hon. Charles Fernandez, Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Aubrey Webson, Senior Ambassador, Sir Ramez Hadeed and Counsellor in the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the UN, Tumasie Blair.