Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda visits Expo: ‘We are huge fans of Dubai, and would like to transform our country into the Dubai of the Caribbean’
DUBAI – Dubai has become the blueprint for the future development of Antigua and Barbuda, the small Caribbean country comprising two islands, according to its Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, who visited Expo 2020 Dubai this weekend. The Prime Minister had flown in to take part in the UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations, and took the opportunity to visit his country’s pavilion.
Prime Minister Browne said:“We are huge fans of Dubai, and we have even said that we are seeking to transform Antigua and Barbuda into the Dubai of the Caribbean. If you look at Dubai, it has been able to attract a lot of investments, especially in the hospitality sector, and has set itself up as a trading hub, with one of the region’s most significant shipment ports. And that is what we want to be for the Caribbean.
“We’ve invested heavily in these sectors, and we’ve upgraded our airport facilities, as we’re following the Dubai model. We think it can be replicated.”
The Prime Minister also talked about how the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Partnership Fund had benefitted the country, with USD 50 million awarded for the construction of a hurricane-resistant clean energy plant in Antigua and Barbuda. He said he regards the UAE as an important partner in helping the Caribbean transition towards green energy, and also to make the islands become more resilient to climate change.
Noting further similarities between Dubai and Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Browne discussed multiculturalism and tourism.
“We have 365 different beaches – one for every day of the year,” Prime Minister Browne continued. “We are one of the finest countries in the world for tourism, with a comfortable climate all-year-round, great food, great culture, and we’re also a great investment destination, based on the stability within the country. We have very low levels of crime, consistent economic growth and development, and a developed education infrastructure. We are also keen to promote our health tourism and wellbeing.
“And like Dubai, the islands are very multicultural, with the largest mix of people from across the Caribbean – and we are warm, friendly, open and receptive towards others. Come as a tourist, or as a resident by making an investment. You can buy real estate easily and become a citizen.”
As well as being complimentary about Dubai, its development, and also the relationship his country has with the UAE, Prime Minister Browne seemed just as impressed with Expo itself: “I absolutely have to commend the Government and the people of the UAE for their efforts in organising one of the most spectacular Expos in the history of the exhibition. We’re very pleased to be participating. The event provides us with a lot of global recognition, and we’ve had many individuals from different countries come in to visit our pavilion, learning about our culture, foods and creative arts.
“We’re a small economy, and we depend on tourism, investments and trade. And this is just a great showcase for our country. I think Expo will attract more people to us in each of these areas.”