Antigua and Barbuda celebrates 40 years of political independence from Britain


Antigua and Barbuda is celebrating its 40th anniversary of political independence from Britain on Monday, overshadowed by the “seemingly endless litany of COVID-19 related ailments” that have curtailed the traditional celebrations.

Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, all made reference to the pandemic that has killed 102 people and infected 4, 058 since March last year.

“We acknowledge the reality that Our Nation has also had its fair share of difficulties. In spite of the seemingly endless litany of COVID-19 related ailments, one fact is apparent: Antiguans and Barbudans are a resilient people.

“Let us continue to focus upon the realignment of Our Nation to one where all citizens and residents have a reduced risk of illness; where everyone can work in safe and healthy places of employment; where our hospital beds are empty of patients with infectious diseases; and where our economy begins to remarkably rebound,” Sir Rodeny said in his message.

Prime Minister Browne used the opportunity to encourage citizens to get vaccinated against the virus so as to prevent hospitalisation and even death.

“In Antigua and Barbuda’s case, sufficiency of supply of the vaccines has been achieved. Yet, a significant cadre of our people seem determined to challenge the nation’s leadership and to remain unvaccinated.

“This disagreement in the 40th year of Independence is surprising. Achieving national immunity will, nevertheless, continue as a national ambition. I am confident that our people will triumph over COVID and restore normalcy, good health, and prosperity for future generations,” Browne said.

For his part, Lovell said that Independence Day finds the country grappling with the COVID pandemic “which has disrupted ways of life and impacted standards of living.

“However, while our finances, our health situation, and our social interactions might be at a low point now, we are not without hope that these circumstances will improve with vision, hard work and discipline,” Lovell said, adding that the UPP, which lost the last two general elections here “is evidence of what can be accomplished with these three attributes and enshrines them today as watchwords for our collective future.

“And so, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary of independence, we remind everyone of the reason for necessarily quiet and down scaled celebration and strongly encourage you to do all you can to keep yourself, your family, your workplace and Nation safe,” Lovell said.

In his message, Prime Minister Browne said that 40 years after gaining independence, citizens have shown political maturity as well as social cohesion that have become deeply ingrained in their sovereign consciousness.

“There have been 16 general elections since 1946, when political parties first emerged. Never has there been a resort to violence or to force, in order to change the outcomes of those democratic expressions.

“In the eight general elections since 1981, governments have been changed with power passing from one political party to another, no violence or disturbance. Political maturity and social cohesion have been at work.

“Our cultural traditions, including the annual Carnival and the Christmas celebrations, enrich and bind our people. These celebrations allow for all other incidental identities to be submerged temporarily, even as competition for excellence shines through.

Our people have learned, through Christian values and socialization, to be tolerant and patient with each other,” Browne said,

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has congratulated Antigua and Barbuda noting that “40 years of statehood is a milestone in the history of a country, and there is much for Antigua and Barbuda to be proud of as a nation”.

In a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Browne, the  CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett said “this year’s theme “Resilience, Reflection and Recovery” is relevant for the challenging times that Antigua and Barbuda is traversing as the country strives to recover from the devastating health, social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,”.

She said that the strength and indomitable character of the People of Antigua and Barbuda, guided by the Government, augur well for a better future.

Barnett commended Antigua and Barbuda’s historic commitment to regional integration, and the Prime Minister’s leadership as Head of Government with lead responsibility in the Quasi-Cabinet for Services and as current Chair of the Community.

“The Community wishes you, Honourable Prime Minister, and the People of Antigua and Barbuda continued success in your sustained efforts at nation building,” the Secretary-General said.

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  1. Who want to hear from Lovell? He is a private citizen. We want to hear from the one and only LEADER of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. He alone should be speaking for his party, as he’s the only LEADER of the Opposition.

  2. After 40 years of “WHAT”?

    Did you mean 40 years of corruption, mismanagement, and greed? I suggest that this is the correct label.

    After 40 years: what does the nation has to show for itself:

    1. Our prime minister still uses every platform on which he is allowed to speak; to BEG the world for money. SHAME!

    2. Our roads are probably the worse in the eastern Caribbean.

    3. Our Internet service is still probably the most expensive and unreliable in the Caribbean.

    4. The nation cannot supply constant clean potable water to its citizens.

    5. Th nation still imports most of the food that the people consume.

    6. The main city ( St. John’s) and other areas are covered with litter and bush (grass) on the pavements (sidewalks)…with many areas smelling stink.

    7. The hospital lacks the mere basic facilities required for simple modern-day operations.

    8. The education system is in the dungeon screaming for proper leadership to come forth and help our youth.

    9. The judicial system is corrupt.

    10. The executive and legislative bodies are even more corrupt.

    11. The government is still the largest employer in the nation.

    12. The list is infinite…….

    After 40 years, you would think that most if not all of those mentioned issues would have been dealt with and alleviated or fixed. However, a nation that cannot provide the mere basic infrastructure and utilities for its citizens; is a FAR WAY from being independent.



    • Where are you living my friend…on Redonda??? You’re not aware of the realities in Antigua and Barbuda. Stop the nonsense. Antigua is the jewel of the Caribbean, and example of what can be accomplished under a social-democratic Labour party. Rejoice. Simply Rejoice.

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