“Our advancement amid these challenges is a result of our people’s resilience, determination, and their capacity never to surrender to natural and other forces; but to battle on, with “Each endeavouring, all achieving,” Browne said in a radio and television broadcast to mark the occasion.
Browne said that the population of Antigua and Barbuda are all aware of the numerous powerful and destructive storms that have rocked the country over these last four decades.
“We are all cognizant of the external economic shocks to our economy, including the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020; the numerous hurricanes we have suffered; and the impact on commodity prices of the Russian war on Ukraine,” Browne said, adding that the country has been able to overcome such setbacks.
“Collectively, we have never given up and we shall continue to labour unrelentingly, amidst the various challenges for the advancement of our nation. Just a few short years ago, we faced the daunting spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on our economy, causing us to lose a staggering 18 per cent of our GDP.
“It was a trying time for our nation, but we banded together, and with prudent economic stewardship, we have accomplished nothing short of a miracle. Over the past three years, our economy has soared, growing at an astounding average rate in excess of eight per cent annually, resulting in a truly remarkable 25 per cent aggregate growth.”
Browne said that the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has forecast growth this year at 9.5 per cent, second only to Guyana with its vast oil and gas resources.
He said ECLAC has already forecast the growth next year at over eight per cent, maintaining the position as the second fastest-growing economy in the Hemisphere.
Antigua & Barbuda prime minister, Gaston Browne. (GP)