The Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF) is proudly sponsoring yet another project, this time, one with historic cultural significance to Antigua and Barbuda; the restoration of the West Wing buildings at Government House.
The Foundation donated just over EC$2.1M to the project, which has been ongoing since April 2019. His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams said he is grateful to the CAF for embracing the vision to assist in the restoration of one of the historic, architectural symbols of the nation. “This,” he said, “enables us to leave a richer legacy for present and future generations.”
Now nearing completion, Her Excellency, Lady Sandra Williams, said she is happy to see the vision of the restoration process smoothly transitioning to a close.
“The restoration of the West Wing of Government House is a perfect example of how a responsible private sector entity has committed to the preservation of the nation’s culture and history,” said Her Excellency. “This project will ultimately be a remarkable addition to the tourism product inventory, as Government House will offer attractive tours to visitors. We are extremely grateful to all who have played their part, and especially to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for their invaluable contribution.”
According to Executive Director of CAF, Corinna Delowsky, the project, which also utilized skilled laborers from Her Majesty’s Prison, will include a museum, art gallery and restaurant, and will be a positive addition to the St. John’s landscape once the tourism market returns to some semblance of normalcy. Added to this, Delowsky said the project also provided an avenue to spur economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were fully committed to getting our local staff and contractors back to work after the lockdown as soon as we were able,” Delowsky added. “It should be a testament to the resilience of Antigua in the face of the recent economic downturn and send a message that we are back in business.”
Local contractor, Vernon Challenger, Managing Director Challenger’s Enterprises Ltd., expressed his pride for being able to contribute his company’s expertise, while working on the historic edifice.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of the project for many reasons. Not least amongst them is the opportunity to work on a venerable building and to demonstrate the capacity of our homegrown company. We are also thankful for the example of cooperation in action. This project,” Challenger added, “is the convergence of several disciplines and interests—business, construction, community service and rehabilitation, diplomacy, the economy, good will, history, and preservation—working together for the greater good.”
The restoration project is expected to wrap up by mid-September.