Antigua and Barbuda’s health sector has stood out like a jewel in the list of accomplishments since independence highlighted Prime Minister Gaston Browne while addressing the nation on the 37th anniversary of political independence from Great Britain.
The prime minister thanked “those heroes” whom he said had the foresight to ensure that their descendants should have a better future”.
“They made it possible for us to be where we are today. Their legacy must never be squandered, nor their struggle wasted. They looked to the future and even as we honour them we must look to the future too,” he said.
He said Antiguans and Barbudans live in a country where the air of freedom and economic opportunity is breathed by all where no one lives in fear of their opinion being stifled or of their rights being constrained, the prime minister rationalised that these were not conditions available to the population before independence when “there was much inequality based on race and class and of colour”.
Browne stated that it’s plain for all to see in the multi-million dollar investment in the construction of new education plants and poly-clinics, the current on-going $300 million development of port facilities for cruise ships to attract 300,000 tourists annually, development of touristic facilities at Fort James, and the Booby Alley housing project, which would provide better housing for low income families in the capital, St. John’s.
Highlighting that the “glorious quest” is not an impossible dream, but one that is possible, the prime minister said that his administration is in pursuit of making the widest scope of opportunities “available for all of our people”.
“This is not an impossible dream. We are not striving to reach an unreachable star or to fight an unbeatable foe. This is a glorious quest for which we have already begun the resolute march with measurable and evident success.”
He said that while there is still much to do, it is plain to see the government’s development path with proposed multi-million-dollar hotel expansion and development, including the upgrading of the Royal Antiguan, and the Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts.
He told the citizens despite the challenges the twin-island nation has accomplished much to be proud of, and he called on them to be patient in enduring the temporary inconvience. He, however, vowed to have the inconvenience reduced in the short term – if not the work contract would be revoked from the current contractor.
He said the future must include a stable financial environment, better education, improved health services as well as full employment among other goals “for all our peoples whatever their background”.