REAL NEWS: Antigua and Barbuda reportedly will host over 5,000 delegates to the largest business meeting ever hosted by this country – the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference – in May 2024.
However, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is concerned that the Browne Administration will not undertake a tendering process that is fair to local vendors whose services will be needed for hosting the event.
Public Relations Officer Damani Tabor says the UPP welcomes the conference being hosted here, but there must be equity in the selection of service providers.
It should not be the usual “friend-and-party” way of doing business, he warns, as the UPP will not support such discrimination.
Tabor acknowledges that significant economic benefits can be derived from hosting this event, but these, too, must be shared equitably, he says.
Meanwhile, for the conference to be successful, he says there will need to be proper planning in order to avoid international embarrassment.
According to the Cabinet, the American University of Antigua (AUA) is constructing a conference centre that will comfortably accommodate 1,500 delegates from 193 United Nations member- states, officials, interpreters, conference personnel, and members of
The Cabinet Notes claim that more than 86 buses and 50 cars will transport presidents, prime ministers, and ministerial heads of delegation from the airport to their hotels, and to the conference centre and back.
To successfully host such a massive conference, a budget of US$6 million is needed, the Executive claims, but most of it will be contributed by sources other than the Treasury of Antigua and
Barbuda, the Cabinet says.
According to Tabor, there is need for comprehensive support for this
Therefore, he is suggesting that a bipartisan parliamentary committee, as well as experts from the community, be pulled together to make sure the event is successful and every benefit is maximized.
Last week, November 8, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United Nations, along with three other officials, met with the Cabinet to discuss plans for hosting the SIDS conference.
The event will run from May 27 to 30.
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