CABINET NOTES: June 12 2024


HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 12 June 2024

The start of the Cabinet meeting was preceded by prayers from a religious minister.

1.  The Cabinet spent a period of time reviewing the 10-year history of the administration—June 12, 2014 to June 12, 2024. The members all declared that these last 10 years have been significant in changing the economic and social landscape of Antigua and Barbuda. Unemployment is at its lowest, foreign direct investment (FDI) is at its highest, and economic growth has returned to new highs in this post-Covid era. The social safety net has been strengthened, a new University of the West Indies (UWI) Fourth Landed Campus has continued to grow and to attract new students. New opportunities for new businesses have been created through the provision of investment capital, and more entrepreneurs are being created in the years since the Gaston Browne administration took office.

ii. The Cabinet has decided to initiate an internship programme for summer 2024 with one hundred and fifty young men and women, 17-19 years old. They will have an opportunity to earn a stipend during the summer and to learn new skills that will strengthen their employment chances, following graduation from high school.  

2. The Cabinet confirmed that 3,400 air conditioning units are currently in Antigua in storage, secured by the Department of the Environment (DoE) through a global fund established by the advocacy of the Alliance of Small Island Sates (AOSIS). The Cabinet and the Environment Division have agreed that schools, government institutions, homes for the elderly, clinics, hospitals, vulnerable families and low income homes will be provided with these air conditioning units. The object is to ensure that as desert-like conditions heat-up the atmosphere in the warm months, those who can barely afford to provide for themselves can turn to acquiring an AC unit that would increase comfort.

3. The Cabinet was informed that the new Barbuda Airport is weeks away from receiving International flights. More than 14 million US dollars have been spent to create a 6,100 feet runway, a terminal building and a Fixed-Base Operator (FBO building). Another 1,000 feet are to be added to the runway to enable it to accommodate larger jet craft as big as a 727. A grand opening event is being planned to demonstrate the arrival of a new phase in the development of Barbuda.

4. The Cabinet will have drafters in the Ministry of Legal Affairs craft amendments to submit to the Public Health Act. The ministry reports that abandoned vehicles are returning in numbers to the public streets after they have been marked with an ‘X’; the owners apparently remove the abandoned vehicles marked with an ‘X’ from the streets before the authorities cart them off; a few days later, the derelict vehicles are returned to the streets and commence again to house vermin and rodents. The law will be changed such that it will not provide notice, disallowing the owners of the derelict vehicles to play ‘cat and mouse’ with the tow truck companies.

5. The Minister of Tourism reported that a new record for air arrivals in April 2024 has been achieved. 126,000 air arrivals were recorded for the period of January to April 2024; surpassing the previous record of 118,000 air arrivals during the same period in 2019. These figures do not include the arrivals from the 4th International Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference and the ICC T20 World Cup arrivals, owing to both events occurring during May and June 2024 respectively.

6. The Minister of Sports reported that the Sir Vivian Richards venue is the most successful of the T20 World Cup venues at which cricket is being played, in the Caribbean. Two matches have been played thus far and the third is scheduled for Thursday 13th June 2024 in the evening, where England will battle Oman.

7. The Minister of Works reported that work on the community roads is intensifying now that SIDS Conference has come to an end. The Minister also reported that staff at National Housing have played an integral role in readying the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium for the matches that will be hosted here in Antigua. The Cabinet expressed its thanks to National Housing.

ii. The repairs at the Boys Training School are complete; the readiness for occupancy is delayed until such time that secure fencing is also complete. The new cemetery at Tomlinson’s is also having its fencing completed and an administrative building and car park are to be built.

8. Cabinet continues to express its appreciation and thanks to all those entities and individuals who made the SIDS4 Conference a great success—May 27 to 30, 2024. The Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA), the Customs and Excise Division, ABS-TV and Radio, hundreds of volunteers and medical personnel who gave of their time and talent were thanked by Cabinet. A reception for volunteers was held on Tuesday evening, June 11, 2024, at the Interpretation Center, Dow Hill. The AUA Convention Center is already being committed for several conferences and conventions.

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  1. I urge them to consider well what they do because removing a person’s property without permission or giving them due notice that it needs to be removed is called THEFT! Solid Waste never comes for the vehicles. They stay right there, no matter how much you call and write letter and fill out form and send email. That is the root of the problem, not some fringe case that they have no evidence of. Shameful

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