CABINET NOTES: June 5, 2024



As is the custom, prayers were rendered by a Minister of Religion.

1. The Cabinet undertook a review of the accomplished SIDS4 Conference and the contribution made by many nationals, businesses, institutions and volunteers towards the Conference’s success. The Cabinet is meeting for the first time since the close of the four-day event on Thursday evening, May 30 2024. Many other events and meetings were also scheduled for Friday, 31 May 2024, and that caused the planned Cabinet meeting to be put off until this day. The Ministers all reported that they attended many highly useful bilateral meetings and other engagements, arranged during and after the Conference; they reported on the utility of the consultations. High praises were heaped on the heads of the hundreds of volunteers whose courtesies, professionalism, friendliness and willingness made the visitors feel very much at home. 

The Cabinet wishes to relay its thankfulness to APUA and PWD, the SLBMC, the EMS, the ABDF, RPFAB, the Immigration Department, the ONDCP, the Private Security firms, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Utilities, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Works, the ABTB, the ABHTI, the Taxi Drivers Association, the AUA, the Antigua and Barbuda Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the Trainers and Organizers, the AUA, the Shoul Family, the Hoteliers and the AirBnB operators, the private firms that contributed cash and goods, the Embassies and the foreign governments, the contractors who built the Center, the many media houses and so many others who wished for success and contributed to the achievements of the SIDS4 Conference.   

2. The Cabinet welcomed two Antigua and Barbuda Ambassadors to its meeting in order to address the possibilities that are available from stronger relations with the United Arab Emirates, and specifically the State of Qatar. The Antigua and Barbuda Government is seeking to advance its national interests and especially to find non-traditional revenue sources. Investors from Qatar have shown an interest in Antigua and Barbuda, and the Cabinet is eager to pursue investments from this capital-rich state. The Ambassadors are charged with strengthening those bonds and maximizing the benefits that can flow from strong bilateral relations.

3. The Cabinet invited to its meeting, two investors with an interest in opening a medical school in Antigua. The population of students would come primarily from Pakistan and India, although students of many nationalities would likely attend. Faculty would also be recruited from the source states, but others would also come from a plethora of nations. The investors noted that Pakistan produces only 50,000 spaces for training medical doctors; yet, 100,000 students wish to attend medical school. That gap, the investors agreed, can be filled by offshore medical schools which the investors operate in several States. The investors were provided with the assurances they required, with further negotiations to continue in the coming days.

4. The Cabinet invited two technicians of Fortuna Pix to its meeting, to address filling an unwanted gap in e-teaching and technology transfer. Their teaching and learning systems involve the application of both tablets and printed matter, the latter to be utilized only when the student does not have access to tablets. The text books are perfect replicas of the lesson appearing on the screens: however, the use of tablets is much less costly in the long run than printed texts and other print material in classrooms. Currently, Fortuna Pix is operating in several English-speaking Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, the British Virgin Islands. In order to close that gap between our neighbours and Antigua and Barbuda, deployment of the technology is necessary. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry with responsibility for technology transfer will collaborate to maake this venture a success. 

The Cabinet discussed the promotion of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Education, and members were assured that the new technology can be more effective in teaching lessons in those four areas than the traditional approach. Artificial Intelligence (AI) teaching, which will be taught in “smart schools”, would produce a smarter more intelligent and better informed nation in the long term.

5.  The Cabinet was informed that several members of staff of the General Post Office are withholding their labour, after having the NTTC Building (now known as the Sir Cuthwin Lake Medical Center on Nugent Avenue) readied for their transfer and occupancyHowever, the Cabinet asked the Minister of Works to prepare a vacant building standing next to the NTTC Building for their temporary occupancy also. The estimated time for its completion is seven to ten working days.

6. The Cabinet held a discussion on the SIRF Fund (Sustainable Island Resource Framework Fund) that has been a source of loans and grants that exceed $12 million dollars since its inception. The SIRF Fund is now responding to climate change concerns, especially the heat wave which is now engulfing Antigua and Barbuda. The Cabinet is determined to ensure that the very young and the elderly are the primary beneficiaries of the systems.

7. The Cabinet reminds the population that the 2024 Hurricane Season commenced four days ago on June 1, 2024, and that all necessary precautions are to be taken by homeowners and others, especially those institutions whose properties are to be used as shelters. This year, the Caribbean is likely to experience a very busy season. The Cabinet encourages planning.

8.i. The Attorney General informed that his office continues to study the separation of the Police Force from the Fire Department. A decision will be taken following the examination of any increased costs and other logistical intricacies that may result. 8.ii. The Ministry of Legal Affairs is examining the model law of the European Parliament that seeks to ensure beneficial uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and to discourage its use for criminal and anti-social causes.

9.i. The Minister of Health reported that the team from Trinidad who travels to Antigua to remove cataracts, is planning to come again in July 2024. Precise dates will be announced shortly. 9.ii The Minister also reported that the Tomlinson’s Cemetery is closer to readiness; hence, a GPS system will be utilized to mark graves and to make the burial plain uniform, without bulges.

10. Cabinet reminds the population of cricket lovers that the first game of the World Cup T20 Cricket will be on Sunday at 1:00 pm. The games will be every other day thereafter; hence, the second game will be on Tuesday and will begin at 8:30 at night. The party stand will be playing its traditional role.

11. The Cabinet reminds parents that on Wednesday and Thursday, 4 and 5 June 2024, Grade 6 students are involved in taking National Assessment Exams. The Cabinet wishes all the best to the students, their teachers and their schools.

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  1. Wait,Fortuna Pix, the Ebook people, are still here? Daryl Matthew stupidly keeps talking about “expired ” devices,

  2. Wait,Fortuna Pix, the Ebook people, are still here? Daryl Matthew stupidly keeps talking about “expired ” devices, and they’re getting ready to get in bed with that abject failure?
    These clowns are just out of ideas and keep regurgitating garbage. Lol.

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