As the government of Antigua and Barbuda continues to aggressively improve the supply of water to consumers, Prime Minister the Hon. the Honourable Gaston Browne, last week met with the Honourable Robert Abela, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen technical cooperation between the two countries.
The MoU aims to establish a capacity-building programme for Strategy and Technical personnel at the Antigua and Barbuda Public Utilities Authority (APUA). The programme will comprise of a Pilot Leakage Management Project in isolated water supply zones within the municipal water distribution network. This should result in the development of a holistic and comprehensive leakage Identification, Management and Control strategy. By virtue of this signed MoU, the Government of Malta will provide support for training visits.
Prior to the official signing of the MoU, both leaders candidly exchanged best practices for Water Management Strategies to include production, recycling, and conservation. Prime Minister Abela openly shared Malta’s experience in water infrastructure development to increase production and improve distribution. From his experience, PM Browne welcomed his solutions and iterated that Antigua and Barbuda experiences significant challenges in the water supply that he is eager to address. “If left unattended, the repercussion would be too great. It would mean a plummet in food production and an uptick in food prices that are exacerbated by global crises such as climate change, pandemics, and the Russia-Ukraine war”, said PM Browne.
After the signing, the leaders re-engaged on a plethora of issues that Small Island Development States (SIDS) face. This includes structural vulnerabilities, lack of scale economies, climate change, and decline in the economy owning to global risks and threats. Despite these perilous threats to SIDS, Prime Minister Browne concluded the talks on a positive note by emphasizing SIDS’ fortitude and resilience, forging partnerships on the international platform.
Prime Minister Browne was accompanied by the Hon. E.P. Chet Greene, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN, Ambassador Conrod Hunte, Deputy Permanent Representative and Mr. Tumasie Blair, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations in New York.
The Hon. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta was accompanied by the Hon. Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and Minister for Health; H.E. Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador – Permanent Representative of Malta to United Nations; Dr. Michael Farrugia, Member of Parliament; Mr. Glenn Micallef, Chief of Staff of Prime Minister of Malta; and Ms. Francesca Cassar, First Secretary – Economic & Development Coordinator, Permanent Mission of Malta to United Nations.