On Thursday, February 9, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda officially launched a road rehabilitation project to upgrade the Sir George Walter Highway and Friars Hill Road. The project is being funded through a grant of GBP13.9 million from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The launch was held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minster of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston Browne, noted that the road rehabilitation project is part of a broader infrastructure transformation initiative.
“Modern infrastructure transforms the living environment and it brings a new sense of self-respect and certainly a sense of purpose and pride for residents. It reduces alienation and hence, violence and criminality. These investments are part of a fully articulated growth development strategy, developed by the Ministry of Finance and our developmental partners…and identifies several critical areas required to improve the quality of life for our people. Infrastructure development is one of these flagship areas that has been identified for development,” said Mr. Browne.
The Sir George Walter Highway and Friars Hill Road are used daily by approximately 75 percent of persons living in Antigua. The rehabilitation will cover approximately 8.7 km of road network, which connect the capital of St John’s, prime tourism areas, heavily populated communities and the V.C. Bird International Airport. Improvements will include upgrades to drainage infrastructure and capacity, as well as safety considerations.
Andrew Dupigny, Head of Infrastructure Partnerships at CDB, said that the skills developed through this project will help Antigua and Barbuda with future infrastructure developments.
“The project will also provide Antigua and Barbuda with enhanced facilities, equipment, and staff skills to more effectively implement road projects through the upgrading of the materials laboratory. As part of this project, gender capacity-building will be provided to the Ministry of Works, contactors and construction workers. The UKCIF programme envisages that projects financed with these resources will provide best practice models of infrastructure,” said Mr. Dupigny.
UKCIF provides grant financing to eight Caribbean countries eligible for Overseas Development Assistance, and UK Overseas Territory, Montserrat. Antigua and Barbuda is the first country to access the fund for capital works since it became operational in 2016.
This project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of promoting broad-based economic growth and inclusive social development within its Borrowing Member Countries, and CDB’s corporate priority of strengthening and modernising public infrastructure.