Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne has fulfilled a promise made three years ago to the President of the Dominican Republic to transfer one acre of land for the construction of an embassy and residences for the Dominican Republic in St. John’s.
The country’s leader presented the land certificate to Foreign Affairs Minister of the Dominican Republic, Chancellor Miguel Vargas who paid an official visit to Antigua and Barbuda over the weekend.
“The establishment of an embassy in St. John’s signals the permanency and strength of our relationship. Three years of engagement has heightened our relationship which has a long history dating back to the 1920’s when Antiguans and Barbudans travelled to the Dominican Republic to cut cane and some stayed and established families. So we are inextricably linked,” Prime Minister Browne told the Dominican Foreign Minister.
He also outlined that over the last few years, over ten thousand Dominicans have made Antigua and Barbuda their home, contributing to the diversity of the Antigua and Barbuda population. He stated that it is important for both countries to continue to collaborate in each other’s interest and continue to expand cooperation in the international community. He said that over the years, the friendship has been one of mutual beneficial cooperation and his government wishes to continue to build on the relations and values the Dominican Republic as a reliable partner.
Prime Minister Browne also noted that in the area of trade, there are a number of under and unexploited opportunities. “I wish for us to collaborate in order for Dominican enterprises to establish operations in our free trade zone, thereby providing markets for them in the wider OECS region,” PM Browne said.
The country’s leader also commended the Dominican official on the high level of its tourism product and outlined that there are opportunities for collaboration. He also commended the Dominican government for their demonstration of friendship in the offer of the construction of a new school in Barbuda.
Foreign Minister Vargas in his response to Prime Minister Browne, outlined that the establishment of an Embassy in Antigua and Barbuda is a signal of how much his government respects the friendship and are willing to continue the high level of cooperation. “This embassy will be a symbol of our friendship,” he said.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda E.P. Chet Greene and Foreign Minister Vargas signed an Air Services Agreement and a Disaster Risk Management Cooperation Agreement. Both, Vargas said are important to disaster mitigation and improved air services between both countries.
Both Prime Minister Browne and Foreign Minister Vargas pledged to continue discussions in the areas of trade, education, housing and aviation to include services to be provided by LIAT.
The Antigua and Barbuda Delegation at the Meeting with Foreign Minister Vargas included Foreign Affairs Minister E. P. Chet Greene, Housing Minister the Hon. Maria Browne, and Ambassadors Lionel Hurst, Colin Murdoch and Brian Challenger.