CABINET NOTES of Thursday 25 April 2024


HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Thursday 25 April 2024

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

The Cabinet then held a discussion on LIAT (2020) Ltd. and the successes made evident by the arrival on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, of two aircraft at the V.C. Bird International Airport, dispatched by Air Peace; they are intended to augment the LIAT (2020) fleet which is likely to have as many as 6 aircraft with which to start.

The Cabinet recalled the fair share of challenges which had to be overcome by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in order to arrive at the point where the new airline is on the verge of taking to the skies.

The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is a few weeks away from granting the AOC (Air Operator Certificate) that will allow for the airplanes to commence commercial services in the marketplace.

The Cabinet repeated the Government’s offer of 32% compensation to former LIAT (1974) Ltd. employees, several of whom have not yet accepted the package. The agreement is to pay up to EC$75,000 each, with government bonds, even plots of land and UWI Scholarships for their children or spouses, being computed into the value. 

2. The Cabinet received a report from the Junior Minister in the Ministry of Education, Sports and the Creative Industries and from the Executive Chairman of the National Housing on the progress of the Stadium readiness for Cricket World Cup. There is a need to paint the outside of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, requiring a bucket truck and other paraphernalia; all were immediately sourced and will be undertaken by the Ministry of Works.

The Cabinet ordered that the swimming pool, described as the 366th beach, be immediately repaired and made usable during the World Cup Games commencing in June 2024. 

The team identified the need for more cleaners, plumbers, electricians and A/C technicians required during the weeks of the T20 matches.

An 1875 KVA standby generator is required and the Cabinet has agreed to the purchase of such a machine. Security personnel will also be required for 24-hour surveillance in all parts of the stadium, in order to safeguard against the loss and or malicious damage to expensive equipment during the games. 200 volunteers are required (no remuneration, training begins this coming Saturday).

3. The Minister of Education, Sports and the Creative Industries provided an update on Caribana 2024. The Cabinet approved a budget of EC$75,000 for the Barbuda Carnival which culminates on Whit Monday, May 20th.

Cabinet also agreed to enable LIAT (2020) charter flights to transport residents of Antigua to Barbuda to Caribana, at a low cost.

This intended benefit is contingent upon ECCA’s approval of: i). the aircraft use of the new Barbuda runway, since only that runway can accommodate the LIAT airplanes; and, ii). issuance of the AOC to the new entity.

4. The Cabinet invited the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and the Chief Planner for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) Conference to its meeting, to report on the progress being made thus far in the preparation for this May 27th to 30th important, international conference.

More than 3,000 delegates are scheduled to attend the Conference and sufficient accommodation has been assured for the delegates.

Several large countries arranged to take over several hotels and have assured the Antigua and Barbuda planners that they will provide accommodation to a number of Heads of delegation.

The USA will house 14, India will house 13, and a number of other States that have arranged to take over hotels will also house Heads of State and of Government.

An examination of the conference center at AUA—that is to be used for plenary sessions during the Conference—was undertaken. The APUA and the Ministry of Works are helping to ensure that the audio/visual systems to be relied upon during the Conference, provided at no cost by the People’s Republic of China, is correctly placed. The landscaping on the immediate perimeter is to be up-scaled with the collaboration of the AUA.

The University will provide 20 staff to work on the inside of the conference center from early morning until late at night; 20 CBH staff will be working shifts to ensure the outside remains pristine. The Ambassador reported that the pledges made by member states are sufficient, but the amounts have not yet all been received. 

Several Food Courts will be available at the site; a field hospital will also be set up on the grounds at AUA, staffed with senior health personnel. A temporary car park is also going to be built on the site to accommodate the many vehicles that will transport both delegates and staff to and from the AUA site.

5. The Minister of Works provided an update at the work being done at the new Tomlinson’s cemetery. A metal fence with cement base is being erected on the Factory Road side. A building to house both equipment and offices will also be constructed, so will a number of bathrooms and a car park.

6. The Cabinet has agreed that the next major housing project to be undertaken will be at the top of North Street (known as ‘Mongo Tong’) and parts of Bishopgate Street.

A plan is also afoot to move the Public Works Department from St. John’s and Bishopgate Streets and other government departments to a new government complex, to be constructed at Hospital Hill later this year, and then to build new National Housing homes on the site to be surrendered by the Public Works at St. John’s Street.

7. The Cabinet congratulated Antigua and Barbuda’s contestant in the St. Maarten Caribbean Queen Show, Ms. Ischikelle Corbin, for her victory. There is already some discussions about having her compete in the Ms. World Competition.

8. The Cabinet has identified a new Information Commissioner who will be proposed to the Governor General.

The Freedom of Information Act of 2004 requires the appointment of such a Commissioner who receives income information from about 500 senior public employees, including elected officials, who are required to share income statements each year with the Information Commission.  Requests for information held by Ministries and other Government offices can be requested by anyone who has an interest, by way of the Commission.

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