News Center

September 12, 2014

PRESS STATEMENT on the visit of Spanish Archaeologist and AECID Heritage Director, Mrs. Irene Seco


The Bilateral discussions between Antigua and Barbuda and Spain on the margins of the 35th Regular Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM here on 2nd July, 2014 are bearing fruit.

A Spanish archaeologist, Mrs. Irene Seco, who is also the Heritage Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) will be visiting the country from the 14th – 19th September, 2014 to hold discussions with stakeholders and visit a number of heritage sites.

Her mission is being coordinated by the Office of the NAO and Project Officer, Ms. Arita Phillip explained that the scope of Mrs. Seco’s work includes an appraisal of the existing condition of the various heritage sites, an examination of the extent of restorative work to be undertaken, recommendations regarding the use of the sites and the training of nationals in restoration techniques.

During the Heads of Government Conference, Prime Minister, The Hon. Gaston Browne and Culture Minister, The Hon. E. P. Chet Greene successfully engaged the Prime Minister of Spain on a number of issues, the European Nation’s continued support to the development of Antigua and Barbuda. They raised the issue of the historic importance of heritage sites such as the St. John’s Cathedral Church, Fort James, the Museum, Government House, Fort Berkely and surrounding areas at Monks Hill. Subsequent contacts were made between the Parties and a determination by Spain to undertake an assessment prior to agreeing on the level of support.

Welcoming Spain’s quick response to the request, Culture Minister Greene said “this was another example of the Administration’s deliberate strategy of addressing critical issues, such as the preservation of our historical treasures which are vitally important and we welcome Spain’s partnership in this endeavor. We are also working to have the sites further contribute to the Tourism product”.

While here, Mrs. Seco will pay a courtesy call on the Culture Minister and meet with other Officers of the Ministry of Culture, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Works and Housing, the National Parks Authority and the different heritage sites.

Her visit comes at the same time when the Ambassador Designate of Spain to Antigua and Barbuda, H.E. Aníbal Jiménez Abascal will be presenting his credentials to the Governor General, H.E. Dr. Rodney Williams and the Prime Minster, The Hon. Gaston Browne.