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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, has denied claims that the government has been slow in spending pledged funds on the restoration of Barbuda.
Browne spoke to OBSERVER media over the weekend about an allegation that there has been slow recovery effort on the sister isle, despite the money pledged by foreign governments and individuals.
The Prime Minister asserted that every pledge collected so far was spent on Barbuda and he has blamed the Barbuda people for not taking more responsibility for their affairs.
“Every single cent that was collected has been spent in Barbuda and more. What needs to happen is Barbudans need to take responsibility to fix their homes. Government cannot resolve all of their financial problems,” Browne said.
“We have repaired public institutions and the reality is that Barbuda is significantly better today than it was several months ago, so I do not know what they are complaining about,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the government has received US $10 million, and it still awaiting fulfilment of pledges totalling approximately EC $32 million from foreign governments.
“We still have about three million Canadian from the Canadian government, five million euros from the European Union to follow and three million pounds from the United Kingdom (UK) government,” he said.
He added that once the money has been collected, it will be spent on repairing critical infrastructure on the sister isle.
“It will be going into different projects – housing is one of the most critical projects. We also need to repair the infrastructure as well, especially the river dock that has been severely damaged and not just repair it but upgrade it,” he said.