Antigua and Barbuda’s New York consulate donates nearly half a million dollars.

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne accepts cheque for U.S. $435,000 from Ambassador Walton Webson at 2017 Independence Gala in New York (Photo Courtesy Michael William-Paul)

(Antigua Observer) Nearly half a million dollars was handed to Prime Minister Gaston Browne by the Antigua and Barbuda New York office, as its contribution to the post-Hurricane Irma rebuilding effort in Barbuda.

The country’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Walton Webson, delivered the cheque for U.S. $435,000 to Browne last Saturday during the annual Independence Gala, held in New York.

The money was raised by the New York office, through donations from nationals in the diaspora, local partners and the international community.

“We are honoured to play our part in the rebuilding of Barbuda. We recognise the mammoth task that lies ahead and have rallied all our resources to raise the funds needed. There is no better time to play our part as citizens than at independence, especially with our sister-island Barbuda in need,” Dr. Webson said in his welcome address to over 200 guests.

In a brief address, PM Browne thanked the office for the support given to the country since Hurricane Irma. He stressed that “we must work together for the development of a stronger and more resilient Barbuda.”

Although it marked the country’s 36th independence anniversary, the gala occasion also served as a fundraising event for the reconstruction of Barbuda.

Apart from the prime minister and his wife,

other attendees included Ambassador Conrod Hunte, Consul-General Gilbert Boustany from Miami, Ambassador Sam Condor of St. Kitts and Nevis, President of American University, Neal Simon, Antiguan designer Chen Burkett, and a cross section of nationals and friends living across the tri-state area.

Music icon, Sir McLean “King Short Shirt” Emanuel gave a special guest performance backed by Carolyn Punter and Friends. The gala event was hosted by former Miss Antigua and Barbuda, Shermain Jeremy.

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