Home » Antigua and Barbuda…you did well, very well!!!

Antigua and Barbuda…you did well, very well!!!

by pointe team
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The curtains on the Fourth International Conference of Small Island Developing
States (SIDS4) have been lowered, the delegates have returned to their respective
countries, technicians are busy packing away equipment, life at the American
University of Antigua (AUA) home of the May 27-30 event, is slowing returning
to some measure of normality.
For the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda, it represented a well-
planned, well executed event; a major international event where all of the country’s
systems were put on test before the world and for which the country earned full
marks, AAA.
There were the usual naysayers, the ‘oh it was too big for us’, the ‘we don’t have
the skills to pull it off’…and the rising tide of negativity that at times reached fever
pitch. Despite all of this, the people of Antigua and Barbuda answered the call to
national duty in their numbers to act as volunteers or simply to perform the roles of
goodwill ambassadors. Hundreds answered the call and underwent weeks of
intense training as volunteers in preparation for the conference.
This was a ‘all hands-on deck’ effort led by the Cabinet with Prime Minister
Gaston Browne taking a hands-on approach and leading from the front. After
agreeing to host the conference based on recommendations from the Antigua and
Barbuda Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Dr. Walton
Aubrey Webson, PM Browne remained personally involved in the process by
helping to raise most of the more than US$7 million needed to ensure a successful
Many pledges of assistance came from friendly governments. Many provided both
cash and other methods of assistance including equipment, logistical support,
security, and in some cases, boots on the ground.
The execution of the event was in the hands of Ambassador Wedson and his staff
of the UN Office in conjunction with the local team led by the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, E.P Chet Greene ably assisted by his Permanent Secretary, Ambassador
Anthony Liverpool and the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the words of Minister Greene, it was truly a national event, with many
answering the call for national duty and did so in the interest of making Antigua
and Barbuda proud, and that they did.

From the security, the transportation, the catering, the accommodations, including
the many AirBnB's, the cultural artists, the vendors, the traffic flows, the
volunteers and those from the various government departments who joined the
SIDS4 Satellite Office on the AUA grounds…everyone played their part in an
exemplary manner and all can be justly proud that because of the combined efforts,
the reputation of Antigua and Barbuda has soared internationally beyond
everyone’s expectations.
Next Steps
The next steps ought to be a series of post mortems carried out by each respective
group; security, transportation, culture, volunteers, accommodation, venue, the
ministry of foreign affairs and other related groups. From these reviews should
come a series of recommendations that will be fed into a national review which
will bring together representatives from these groups who will present their
At the national level, these recommendations would then be distilled into a national
blueprint/template for the hosting of similar events.
No one had experienced hosting a conference of this magnitude before as it was
the first of its kind. Therefore, there was no reference point to consult. The next
time we should be better prepared knowing exactly what to expect and what ought
to be done and within what timeframe.
There is no time to procrastinate; already, the prime minister has indicated that
there is an offer to host a major conference of hoteliers in the not-too-distant future
and additionally, he proposes to make an offer to host a meeting of the
Commonwealth Heads of Government in another two years.
So, Antigua and Barbuda, take a bow…you deserved it! Now, let’s get ready for
the next big one!

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