The government handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been singled out by Prime Minister Gaston Browne as one of the most significant contributions his administration has ever made to the country.
Covid-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and the twin island state saw its first case on March 13, 2020, forcing the government to close its borders.
“Antigua and Barbuda was one of the countries most affected by Covid. At one point we lost about 50% of our revenues but we did not buckle, we did not surrender to the IMF. We decided that we had the resilience, and the talent to pull this country through Covid and that is exactly what we did,” Browne said yesterday.
He was at the time addressing the annual wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the late Vere Cornwall Bird; the father of the nation.
“Truth be told if we did not have the type of leadership during these difficult periods, we certainly would have had a greater impact on the economy and the standard of living of our people. Whereas we respected Covid as a devastating disease, we were not afraid of Covid…We stood up to Covid and we carved out a pathway to ensure the protection of lives and livelihoods,” he added
According to Browne, the twin island state perhaps has a stronger recovery than any other island in the Caribbean region.
“We have shown all Caribbean countries the resilience of the Antiguan and Barbudan people…,” he added
Browne said even amid the pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda’s economy grew by 7.4%, one of the highest in the Caribbean region.
This year the economy is expected to grow by another 8%, notwithstanding the lingering devastation of Covid and the escalation in prices on the global market.