Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s recently proposed plan to make Antigua & Barbuda an “entrepreneurial socialist” state has been met with some acceptance.
World Politics Scholar, Kemal Nicholson, speaking on OBSERVER media’s Big Issues on Sunday, said theoretically, the plan sounded quite lovely to him.
Browne made the announcement during the highly- anticipated visit of President Nicolas Maduro over the weekend, during which, he outlined several plans for collaboration between both governments.
The prime minister said the proposed projects, which include a hotel to be owned by both governments, “will be part of that economic paradigm in which we seek to introduce a form of entrepreneurial socialism”.
Browne said this new approach to economics and wealth distribution will “utilize capitalist strategies for the empowerment of the masses”.
Less than 48 hours after the announcement was made, Nicholson said it is time to deviate from systems where benefits and rewards only go to a set of entitled people.
He, however, said he would wait to see the proposal “in action” to gauge its true efficacy.
“We should look to implement ways and means where the state benefits and reduce poverty within our society. This type of system is a very good system and it is very effective,” Nicholson declared.
During the bilateral talks, both governments also committed to advancing plans for the establishment of a Petrocaribe Economic Zone.
As part of these plans, Browne said, “We’ve also agreed to create a regional bank domicile here in Antigua and Barbuda to facilitate Petro Caribe investments in the future…. The initiatives we have agreed to in this declaration will help us to position Antigua and Barbuda as an economic powerhouse in the Caribbean”.
The prime minister also indicated the leaders discussed utilizing the former US base as a base of peace, to be used to create what he refers to as superior economic benefits for Antiguans & Barbudans.
President Maduro and PM Browne also agreed to establish a regional training facility, as well as a sub-regional facility to assist with adaptation and the mitigation of the effects of climate change.
Also speaking on Sunday’s Big Issues was the General Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Committee based in Barbados, David Denny.
Denny said he is not only “very happy” to see the level of collaboration between both countries, but noted that the proposed projects will ultimately benefit the people.
“It can also create the conditions for us in the other Caribbean states to look on and see what is happening in Antigua & Barbuda, and then to make the same call for similar project to be put on in other Caribbean nations,” he said.
During the bilateral talks, Venezuela and Antigua & Barbuda also exchanged Share Certificates for the West Indies Oil Company, of which the Venezuela government now officially owns 25 per cent.