‘Friend and party’ favours must not sideline other vendors from servicing SIDS conference, Tabor warns

Antigua and Barbuda reportedly will host over 5,000 delegates to
the largest business meeting ever hosted by this country – the Small
Island Developing States (SIDS) conference – in May 2024.

However, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is concerned that the
Browne Administration will not undertake a tendering process that
is fair to local vendors whose services will be needed for hosting
the event.

Public Relations Officer Damani Tabor says the UPP welcomes the
conference being hosted here, but there must be equity in the
selection of service providers.

It should not be the usual “friend-and-party” way of doing business,
he warns, as the UPP will not support such discrimination.

Tabor acknowledges that significant economic benefits can be
derived from hosting this event, but these, too, must be shared
equitably, he says.

Meanwhile, for the conference to be successful, he says there will
need to be proper planning in order to avoid international

According to the Cabinet, the American University of Antigua (AUA)
is constructing a conference centre that will comfortably
accommodate 1,500 delegates from 193 United Nations member-
states, officials, interpreters, conference personnel, and members of
the media.

The Cabinet Notes claim that more than 86 buses and 50 cars will
transport presidents, prime ministers, and ministerial heads of
delegation from the airport to their hotels, and to the conference
centre and back.

To successfully host such a massive conference, a budget of US$6
million is needed, the Executive clsims, but most of it will be
contributed by sources other than the Treasury of Antigua and
Barbuda, the Cabinet says.

According to Tabor, there is need for comprehensive support for this
venture. Therefore, he is suggesting that a bipartisan parliamentary
committee, as well as experts from the community, be pulled
together to make sure the event is successful and every benefit is

Last week, November 8, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the
United Nations, along with three other officials, met with the Cabinet
to discuss plans for hosting the SIDS conference.
The event will run from May 27 to 30.