CARACAS, Venezuela, November 5, 2019 (CMC) – Antigua and Barbuda has become the seventh member of the ALBA Bank, headquartered in Venezuela.
Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, signed the document, yesterday, to formally induct the twin-island nation as a member of the bank that was established in 2005 by Venezuela and Cuba.
Antigua and Barbuda joins its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) neighbours, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, as members of ALBA Bank.
During his trip to Venezuela, Prime Minister Browne also signed the financing agreement for a US$15.8 million loan for injection into LIAT. Last week, the parliament in Antigua and Barbuda gave the government the green light to secure the loan, most of which will be used to recapitalize the struggling regional carrier.
Browne indicated that although the government of Antigua and Barbuda was assuming the financial liability, in fact the loan injection would benefit the entire region that LIAT served.
“LIAT is our infrastructure that links our scattered islands into a single economic space, and it breathes oxygen into our tourism industry,” Browne said.
While in Venezuela, the Antiguan leader also attended the 22nd meeting of the Ministerial Council and the 72nd meeting of the Executive Board of ALBA Bank at the Central Bank.
Governor of the Central Bank, Calixto Ortega, welcomed Prime Minister Browne to the meetings, and said he was pleased that the Caribbean nation was joining the ALBA Bank family.
During the meeting, Browne formally deposited the instrument that allowed Antigua and Barbuda to join the Bank, and expressed his satisfaction at the good financial position of the Bank, which would, in his view, engender trust and confidence.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica offered congratulations and support to Antigua and Barbuda for joining the Bank.
ALBA Bank was the brainchild of former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, and was envisioned as a development bank that would provide resources to fill the development needs of the countries of the region.
After the meetings at the Central Bank, Prime Minister Browne had a bilateral meeting with the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, in the Miraflores Palace. The leaders agreed to work more closely together to achieve the goals of sustainable development in the region.