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Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, is leading a delegation to the First Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Caribbean Community and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Prime Minister is hopeful for a productive and successful meeting, which will also include an Investment Forum on November 17th.
On Tuesday afternoon, a delegation with Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Works and Housing Minister Maria Browne, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Dwayne George, along with Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell of Grenada, Prime Minister Terrance Drew of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Prime Minister Philip Pierre of Saint Lucia left the V.C. Bird International Airport to travel to Riyadh.
The delegation aims to meet His Majesty Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and other government officials to discuss important issues at the bilateral, inter-regional, and global levels. The meeting’s objective is to foster collaboration and strengthen relations between the participating countries.
Discussions during the summit will cover a range of topics, including Agriculture and Food Security, Transportation, Renewable Energy and Climate Change, Finance, Tourism, Investment, Education, and Health.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Saudi Arabia aim to deepen their relations and work together on the coordinated use of financial, technical and human resources to promote economic and social development among Member States.
The Opening Ceremony on Thursday will feature speeches from several dignitaries, including His Majesty Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and King of Saudi Arabia, and Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community.
Prime Minister Browne believes that investment is crucial for CARICOM and Antigua and Barbuda to foster economic growth, create jobs, and build a robust and resilient economy. He plans to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in various areas, including public health infrastructure development, healthcare and education, and cultural exchange.
Prime Minister Browne aims to collaborate with Saudi Arabia in the field of education and training, including a scholarship programme for Antigua and Barbuda students to pursue degree studies in the Kingdom, teacher exchange programmes, and educational infrastructure development. In the area of health, he aims to collaborate on healthcare infrastructure development, medical training opportunities, and electronic health records management.
Other CARICOM countries are also expected to pursue similar areas of cooperation, such as technologies for screening, early detection, and treatment of NCDs, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
The delegation to the two-day event will consist of several notable dignitaries, including Ambassadors Colin Murdoch, Gilbert Boustany, Sami Al Mufleh and Jeffrey Hadeed.
The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fully sponsors the trip to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Browne and the other members of the delegation will return to the country on Saturday, and Attorney General Sir Steadroy Cutie Benjamin will serve as the Acting Prime Minister.