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Information Minister Melford Nicholas provided an update on the Gaston Browne Administration’s progress on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of their re-election for a third consecutive term.
Nicholas refrained from rating the administration’s performance but highlighted that they have made significant strides over the past twelve months.
The government has faced numerous challenges, water scarcity being the most pressing one.
However, Nicholas pointed out that the government has managed to bring some level of stability to water production.
Though the problem of water scarcity persists, the government has succeeded in increasing water production to a level where it can meet the weekly supply of water to every community. Some exceptions still exist, but the government has been able to address them when brought to its attention.
Nicholas revealed that the government is in talks with two private entities to outsource water production.
Negotiations with Seven Seas are expected to conclude by mid-February. The government is pursuing a dual-track approach, with efforts underway behind the scenes to ensure that additional plants are operational by the end of the first quarter.
This would provide more water to the southern corridor and from Barnacle Point. Nicholas expressed his satisfaction that, by the time the dry summer months arrive and some of the water resources are depleted, there will be enough reverse osmosis production capacity to meet the demands.
However, the work is not yet over, and the government plans to replace pipelines and improve the distribution system
To this end, the government met with representatives of the Chinese government on Wednesday to discuss a plan to send a team to Antigua and Barbuda to work alongside APUA on the issue of pipeline replacement and distribution.
Nicholas also shed light on the economic front, stating that the prime minister has reported that the country has achieved economic growth “across the board.”
The government’s steady hand in managing the economy has resulted in the realization of several projects, including the operational Harrison Centre, the expansion of the UWI FIC, and plans to build a new primary school.
The Ministry of Tourism has also boasted its best year on record for tourist arrivals. Despite these achievements, Nicholas emphasized that the work continues.