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The new Harrison Center, a gift from the Harrison’s Foundation, was officially opened on Thursday, drawing hundreds of residents who came to witness the occasion.
The Harrison Center, the Antigua and Barbuda Institute for Continuing Education (ABICE), will serve as a hub for continued learning opportunities in Antigua and Barbuda
The center will not only be the envy of many, but it will also serve as a cornerstone for education and skills development in the area.
The newly constructed building will provide workshops on various skills for young people who prefer vocational and technical education.
This significant investment is a testament to the government’s commitment to providing accessible, relevant, high-quality technical and vocational education to empower individuals, improve lives, and stimulate economic growth.
Sir David Harrison congratulated the government for persistently pursuing the project despite their challenges.
He has generously provided £4 million in funding, contributing significantly to the project’s success.
“I am extremely proud of this Harrison Center…You should be proud; you actually stand out in the way that you remain undaunted. This is not me being friendly here; you get things done, and that takes a lot,” he said.
Sir Harrison said he is also proud to be associated with the country and the government.
Education Minister Daryll Matthew, under whose stewardship the Centre falls, reaffirmed the government’s dedication to decreasing poverty in Antigua and Barbuda. He believes that the newly established Harrison Center will play a significant role in achieving this goal.
“When we say that we believe in the principles of good governance, what is the most effective way? Education. When we say that we believe in the elimination of poverty, studies have shown one of the most effective ways is through education…” he said
He said the government is trying to ensure nationals can access education at all levels.
“Just as the Youth Skills programme became the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education, the metamorphosis will continue. Like the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes, the Harrison Centre, ABICE, will emerge as a centre of excellence for technical and vocational training, not only for Antigua and Barbuda but for the entire OECS,” he added
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne highlighted that Antigua and Barbuda is facing a shortage of skilled labor in various fields.
He hopes that the newly established Harrison Centre will assist in addressing this issue and bridging the gap.
“Our government now must ensure that we train a highly-skilled cadre of young Antiguans and Barbudans to fill these gaps so that we don’t have to continue to import these talents to supplement our labour requirements,” he emphasized.
Browne said education remains one of the cornerstone requirements of any developing country and Antigua and Barbuda has achieved significant progress in that field and many others.
The High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda in London, Karen-Mae Hill, and the Executive Director of ABICE, Arlene Weste, also expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Sir David for his generous contribution towards the development of Antigua and Barbuda.