LOOP: The government of Antigua and Barbuda has revealed that it has designated a plot of land for use by the US government, ahead of an announcement on the two Eastern Caribbean countries that will be selected for an embassy.
The US State Department recently revealed that the Joe Biden administration was considering the establishment of two embassies in the subregion, and while no declaration has yet been made, it is widely expected that Antigua will be chosen as one of the sites, as one of the countries with the largest populations.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has commented on the matter in recent times, expressing confidence that Antigua and Barbuda would be one of the countries chosen.
The opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is also hopeful of an embassy being established in Antigua, saying just this week that it would welcome such a move.
Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lionel Hurst, told media during the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday that they are eagerly anticipating the US government’s decision.
“We have established an ‘Embassy Row’ of sorts on Marble Hill. The Chinese have built an embassy there [and] the Indians have asked us to set aside an acre of land on which they will build a residence and very likely some offices.
“The Dominican Republic has also been granted a piece of land there for the purpose of constructing an embassy at some point in the future. We believe that the United States may wish to do that as well.“So, we have set aside a piece of land for the United States and it may wish to build, or it may wish to do as some other embassies here have done, which is to rent a space that is adequate, that could indeed meet all the requirements of a US embassy abroad”, Hurst explained.Residents in Antigua and Barbuda previously enjoyed the presence of a US embassy for a number of years in the late 1990s, but have – for decades since – been forced to travel to the US embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados for visa processing services.
Countries including Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines are also served by that embassy.
The Antigua and Barbuda government was hoping that the announcement on the selected countries would have come on Wednesday evening during a reception hosted by the US Embassy on the prestigious Jumby Bay Island to celebrate 247 years of independence.
However, the Gaston Browne administration and the country at large will have to wait a bit longer to find out.