Prime Minister Gaston Browne Calls for Patience Regarding Road Network Upgrades in Antigua and Barbuda

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has addressed concerns about the state of the road network in Antigua and Barbuda, urging the public to remain patient as his administration works to resolve long-standing infrastructure issues.

In a radio interview today Browne provided context for the delays and outlined the government’s efforts to improve the roads.

“First of all, let me ask for continued patience by our people, and let me also place this issue into context,” Browne said. “Yes, we have been in government for 10 years, but we inherited a plethora of problems, with a state that was on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Browne highlighted the economic challenges his administration faced upon taking office in 2014, which necessitated prioritizing financial stability over immediate infrastructure improvements.

“The first issue we had to deal with was stabilizing an economy that was on the brink of collapse. This meant paying off $300 million for an IMF loan and assuming another $300 million in liabilities to save depositors’ savings at the then ABI Bank,” he explained.

The Prime Minister emphasized that these financial obligations, along with other delinquent debts, significantly constrained the government’s resources. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation, delaying road repairs even more.

“We’re now in a situation where we have stabilized the country’s economy post-COVID, and we’re focusing on the roads,” Browne said.

“Within the last two years, we have fixed practically all but one of the major arteries. All Saints Road is the only one that remains, and we will now be focusing on the community roads.”

Browne acknowledged that the current state of the roads is the result of decades of neglect and decay, which cannot be resolved quickly.

“We can’t resolve decades of neglect and decay in one year or two years. It’s going to take us a few years to make a significant impact on the community roads,” he stated.

To manage public expectations, Browne reiterated the resource constraints and the extensive time required to complete the repairs.

“I just want to address the flaw of expectation that we can fix all of the roads at the same time. First of all, there are resource constraints, and secondly, the time to get it done because there are so many bad roads.”

Despite these challenges, the Prime Minister assured the public that his administration is committed to accelerating roadworks.

“We have accelerated the work that we’re doing on these community roads so that there will be significant improvements in a number of communities,” he said.

Browne also praised Minister Maria Browne for her relentless efforts in securing additional resources to expedite road repairs.

“Minister Browne, in particular, comes to Cabinet on a weekly basis requesting additional resources as she seeks to expedite the repairs and expansion of a number of roads throughout the island,” he added.

Prime Minister Browne reiterating his call for patience and understanding from the public as the government continues its efforts to improve the nation’s road infrastructure.

“We are committed to fixing these roads, but it is going to take some time,” he affirmed.

Listen to his radio interview below with Aziza Lake:

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