Commonwealth Day Message from Prime Minister Gaston Browne

The Honourable Gaston A. Browne, MP, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

The people and governments of 54 independent countries join hands in celebrating Commonwealth Day 2020 with Antigua and Barbuda.  This day is worth celebrating for it marks a bridge-building undertaking that has lasted for many decades, even as the smallest island-countries shed their inferior status to become full-fledged member-states of several multi-lateral institutions.

The Commonwealth of Nations is a unique institution that succeeded in binding disparate nations from around the globe with differing ambitions and combining the rainbow of colours of the human race into a single whole. It is a very useful forum for the dissemination of differing philosophies and economic systems, and for keeping our democratic traditions very much alive.

At this time, the leadership of the institution is in doubt. Several of the wealthier states have suspended their contributions to the Commonwealth Secretariat. That is the very first time in the history of the institution when contributions have been withheld in an orchestrated attempt to compel a desired outcome. The efficacy and sustainability of the Commonwealth are imperatives; therefore, we must not allow our differences to determine our performance.

Antigua and Barbuda has great faith in the Commonwealth of Nations as an arbiter which can step forward in times of crises and can be relied upon to be an honest broker when domestic or interstate conflict threatens to escalate. It is an institution that would have to be invented, did it not exist.

All hail to the Commonwealth of Nations! Happy Commonwealth Day to one and all.