Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne. (FILE)
ST JOHN’S – The Antigua and Barbuda government says the multi-million dollar St John’s port modernisation project will begin later this month as it moves to increase employment opportunities on the island.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that the US$90 million project is one of a number of multi-million investments in the hotel and tourism sectors that should generate employment opportunities for nationals over the coming months.
“St John’s port modernisation project . . . is scheduled to start on January 15. This project will be the single largest public sector investment undertaken by any government past or present and will facilitate the transformation of the facility into a regional transhipment port.
“A further 80 million dollars will be invested in 2018 to construct a fifth tourism berth . . . to accommodate the Oasis class ships in time for the next tourism cruise season,” Browne said in his New Year’s message.
He said his administration will invest EC$250 million to repair and expand the road network throughout the two islands during the year.
“Presently we are investing EC$50 million to build a new airport runway on Barbuda, which will be completed by September 2018,” Browne said.
Barbuda was devastated when Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm smashed into the tiny island last September forcing the evacuation of all the inhabitants after the government had deemed the place uninhabitable.
But with the island returning to undertake construction work, Prime Minister Browne said that the island will also benefit from a further EC$125 million to assist in rebuilding homes, public institutions and infrastructure as well as a green energy solar plant “that will make Barbuda the first totally green island in the Caribbean”.
He said these and other investments will result in an “unprecedented level of growth in 2018, predicting that economic growth this year will exceed C$400 million or 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). (CMC)