ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Prince Charles arrived in Antigua on Friday – his first stop on a visit to hurricane-hit Caribbean islands. He was accompanied by new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is making her first overseas visit since replacing her predecessor Priti Patel.
The Prince of Wales was greeted at the V.C. Bird International Airport by the governor-general of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, and Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
His visit started as the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to “stand by” the islands devastated by the natural disasters and announced a further £15 million (US$19.8 million) in support.
With the announcement of the additional aid package – plus £15 million recently allocated for the affected Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos – the UK government has now committed £92 million to help recovery and long-term reconstruction in the region.
Mordaunt said: “The UK aid mission was huge, covering small islands stretching more than 1,000 miles apart, where buildings, airports and infrastructure had been razed to the ground.
“I want to pay tribute to the governments of the Overseas Territories, our humanitarian staff and to the military effort, which has been absolutely essential in delivering relief.
“Now as we move on from the immediate response phase, on to the long-term future of the islands, Britain will continue to stand by people whose lives were devastated.
“We are also talking to the international private sector that can support the reconstruction efforts to make sure the islands can build back, and better.”
This is the Prince of Wales’ first official visit to the Commonwealth nation, where the larger island of Antigua escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma’s destructive winds and rain, but neighbouring Barbuda was completely devastated by the storm, necessitating the evacuation of its entire population to Antigua, after nearly all buildings were destroyed.
Prince Charles will also visit the British Virgin Islands and Dominica on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo 1: The Prince of Wales arrives in Antigua and Barbuda and is greeted by the governor general and prime minister. Photo: Clarence House