CABINET NOTES: June 19, 2024


HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 19 June 2024

The Cabinet began its sitting with a prayer from a Minister of religion.

1. The Cabinet held a discussion on the readiness of the Barbuda International Airport to begin accepting flights. Permission is to be granted by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) which the Cabinet understands will be issued in about two weeks. The project cost more than USD14 million and has a runway length of 6,100 feet; the Cabinet agreed to add 2,000 additional feet in order to accommodate certain jet aircraft.

2. The Cabinet invited the Director of the Department of the Environment to its sitting in order to lend greater clarity to the partially-funded air conditioners that are to be distributed, at a lower cost than usual. The Director agreed to commence distribution to the schools where some changes will have to be re-engineered to the infrastructure, including the electrical wiring, in order to make the machines work well. The work will begin with the expectation of finishing many schools during the Summer holidays when the buildings are not usually occupied.

3. A six-member team from the Ministry of Finance, the Customs and Excise Department, the Inland Revenue Department were invited to make their monthly report on revenues and expenditure.  The team shared graphs and other data displays showing what collections have been like for the major revenue-collection agencies, for the months of January to May 2024. The Customs and Excise Division collected $194 million in the five-month period; the Inland Revenue Department collected $257 million in the same period. The obligations or expenditure exceeded the revenues; although, when compared to the same period of the previous year, there was a significant revenue increase. Property taxes are still lagging, despite the discounts offered to those who pay early, and, despite the public urgings through media announcements. Greater vigilance is required, it was agreed, in order to ensure greater compliance.

4. The Cabinet, at its last meeting, agreed to employ 150 interns (17 to 19 years old) during the Summer Holidays 2024. Instructions have gone out to the Permanent Secretaries who are charged with administering the program. Scores of youth have expressed an interest in the possibility of internship, and so the mechanism to enable inclusion is to be communicated shortly. In the meantime, those who are interested ought to have ready their curriculum vitae and evidence of grades; they are to be prepared to be interviewed, since there are likely to be more applications than openings; and, to demonstrate a readiness to work. Further announcements will be made shortly.  

5. The Cabinet applauds the nurses who have consulted with the University of the West Indies – Five Islands Campus (UWI-FI) and who made a compelling case for improved certification of practical nurses, by seeking to earn Master Degrees in their discipline. Following consultations, the University agreed to expand its nursing program by offering the higher degree, thereby allowing the nurses to improve the delivery of healthcare and to enhance their earning capacity, on full scholarship. Nurses who attain degrees of Master of Science can be considered a certified Midwife, for example. This step meets the government’s expectations to become qualified at all levels in order to strengthen the quality of healthcare delivery in Antigua and Barbuda. Nurses previously were required to study abroad which would cause them to be away from their families; it often proved an impediment.

6. The Cabinet is giving serious consideration to a request from the bargaining agent of the Non-Established workers in the Government’s employ, to grant paternity leave to fathers when a new infant is birthed by their wives or live-in girlfriends. This benefit has already been bestowed on workers in another Government agency, by negotiation. The short leave is intended to ensure that both mother and child can bond with the father, allowing him to spend more time than usual with the newborn and mother shortly after birth. The discussion in Cabinet was intense and the examination of the implications was articulated.

7. The Cabinet examined the challenge posed by illegal dumping, made manifest especially following heavy downpours and the movement of the debris in rising and swiftly moving runoff. Several Cabinet members reported on the clogging of drains which the floating waste created, and the unsightly state which remained when the waters receded. A decision was taken to increase fines to $40,000.00 for anyone caught in the act. Cabinet appeals to the national pride in residents and citizens, and to truck drivers, to cease and desist from this illegal practice.

8. Cabinet received a report on the progress made in readying the new public cemetery at Tomlinson’s. The Ministers of Works and of Health both reported on the new cemetery that there are a few more aspects to be taken care of, prior to scheduling the first burial. An administrative building and a car park are to be constructed on the site. Other aesthetic improvements, including a garden-like appearance and orderly graves that do not have mounds, will be pursued. GPS identification of graves will thus be able to plan for orderliness. Provided the weather is  favourable over the coming days, work will be amplified. . 

9. The Cabinet congratulated CPM (Caribbean Premier Motors) for the unveiling of new models of Hyundai Electric Vehicles last evening, at a reception for hundreds of potential new car buyers. The CPM assured the attendees that their mechanics and other engineers had the capability to keep the EVs functioning, and that the cars are less costly to operate than the internal combustion engine vehicles which dominate the car market today. Both the Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for Technology spoke at the reception, applauding CPM for bringing the clean technology to Antigua and Barbuda. The drive to lower the carbon footprint of the State is one of the promises made by the current administration, and EVs succeed in making the country more “green”.  The new EVs will have Duty and ABST waived on entry, making them even more attractive than the fossil-fuel driven counterparts.

10. The Cabinet expressed its condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Yvonne Willis, a national netballer who recently passed, and who was the best at her game during her youth. The Cabinet remembers this astute and athletic national who made her country proud by winning many games for her team and her country. May she Rest in Peace.

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  1. In the evolving landscape of healthcare, advanced education is crucial for specialized roles. However, confusion often arises between a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a specialization such as Midwifery, each serving distinct purposes and career paths.

    **Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): A Broad Spectrum**

    An MSN is a versatile degree designed to provide registered nurses (RNs) with advanced knowledge and skills. This degree encompasses various specializations such as nurse education, administration, clinical nurse leadership, and advanced practice nursing roles like Nurse Practitioner (NP). The broad curriculum includes advanced clinical practice, healthcare policy, and leadership training, preparing graduates for diverse roles within the healthcare system.

    **Midwifery: Specialized and Focused**

    In contrast, Midwifery specifically prepares RNs for a career as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). This program focuses intensively on women’s health, prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and gynecological services. The curriculum is tailored to meet the requirements for midwifery certification exams and provides extensive clinical training in midwifery practices.

    IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED A MIDWIFE, A REGISTERED NURSE WOULD HAVE TO COMPLETE SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN ORDER TO DO SO ( NOT AN MSN) A MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN NURSING IS SIMPLY AN UPGRADE FROM THE BSCN. While both pathways offer graduate-level education and clinical experience, their outcomes and professional roles differ significantly. An MSN provides a broad spectrum of opportunities within nursing, while the Midwifery programme is a direct route to becoming a midwife.

    Misunderstanding these differences can lead to misguided career decisions, impacting professional satisfaction and healthcare delivery. It is crucial for nurses to clearly understand their career goals and the specific educational pathways that align with those objectives.

    Clear communication from educational institutions and professional bodies can mitigate confusion, ensuring that nurses pursue the right advanced degree for their desired career path. As healthcare continues to advance, clarity in educational pathways is essential for the development of skilled, specialized professionals dedicated to improving patient care.

    So I would implore those so are comfortably seated that create these erroneous and preposterous statements to carry out research before attempting to cause confusion where nursing is concerned..!!! NOTHING TAWL GO SO….. UWI DOES NOT DO MIDWIFERY AND NO WHERE IN THIS WORLD WOULD ANY NURSE BE CONSIDERED A MIDWIFE AFTER ONLY DOING AN MSN!!

  2. Oh what tangled webs we weave when others try to decieve‼️‼️

    Stay strong nurses

  3. So, me doing my masters will automatically make me a midwife? What exam would I have to take to be qualified as a midwife cuz I know midwifery is governed by a board which sets the exam for licensure as a MIDWIFE, not as a nurse with a masters degree.

  4. I would like to agree with the previous comment. In order to make certain decisions or comments research should be done. As far as I am aware there is one program in Antigua and Barbuda that is accredited to formally produce Midwives and that program is affliated with the Antigua State College.
    After finishing this program and
    passing all requirements the student will then do the licensure exam in order to practice Midwifery. I am deeply concerned at the foolishness that I am seeing and I am imploring the decision makers in this country that I love dearly. TO DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!! Think long and hard about the decisions that are made this is people lives we are talking about here. The health of a nation is the wealth of that nation.

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