CABINET NOTES of Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023


The Cabinet commenced its meeting with a prayer by an Anglican priest. The Cabinet invited the two highest performers from Public Schools (and their parents) in the National Assessment Exams, to receive the applause of the Cabinet.

The two are: 1. Tahira Gerald (Golden Grove Primary, placed 7th overall); 2. Thoede Luciene (Old Road Primary School, placed 14th overall) both have chosen to attend the Antigua Girls High School. Since the announcement, both students have received more than $8,000 cash jointly to assist with their continued education.

Minister Molwyn Joseph was one of the donors providing a financial contribution. T.D.M. Laundry will provide free laundry service to both students for one year. Many other donors stepped forward to assist the two girls and their parents.

1. The Cabinet invited to its meeting the Development Commissioner, who has been assigned the responsibility to negotiate the terms of the final agreement between LIAT (2020) Ltd. and the principals of Air Peace, for the purpose of establishing a governing agreement between both carriers. Arrangements are also being negotiated between LIAT (2020) Ltd. and the Administrator of LIAT (1974) Ltd. concerning the purchase of the assets of the latter.

The press throughout the English-speaking Caribbean has carried stories indicating that LIAT is a necessary development partner throughout the Caribbean and must be resuscitated.

Other states have been pursuing establishing another airline that wouldn’t compete on LIAT’s Routes; however, LIAT (2020) is more than a year ahead in its planning to replace LIAT (1974) Ltd. and is likely to outperform  the competitors. LIAT (2020) will have a total of six planes and would’ve already secured the Air Operating Certificate (AOC).

2. The Minister of Education presented a draft Student Hair Policy given the difference in practice that have been identified within several public schools.

The policy signals that school rules should not discriminate against students based on the natural texture, length or natural color of the students’ natural hair; this rule would not preclude extensions, but brightly artificial colored hair that does not occur in nature will likely be deemed unacceptable.

Their hair should be neat, groomed, clean and orderly in its presentation. Further hair should not pose a health risk to the wearer or others and cannot be a distraction to the general school population.

3.   The Cabinet has learned from the two existing Funeral Homes in Antigua that human cadavers have sometimes been refrigerated for months on end and sometimes pose a health hazard to workers. The Cabinet decided to amend the law such that funeral homes would have the authority to bury cadavers after one month storage.


4. The Minister of Health reported that a census is to be taken of the population in order to determine the extent to which Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) can be found among the people of Antigua and Barbuda.  The Census enumerators will go house-to-house seeking and collecting information for this first time data collection census. The data are to be utilized from across the globe to determine the methodologies to be applied for lessening the number of people who suffer and die from NCDs. The Caribbean has some of the highest NCDs rates.

5. The disagreement over the value of the Cancer Center has not been resolved. The Government evaluator puts the value at 6 to 9 million ECD. The 80 percent shareholder, Dr. Browne, values the building and equipment at 40 million ECD. Settling the issue of value is important since the center has remained closed for more than a month and patients must go elsewhere to seek the treatment that was provided in Antigua.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is being extended an invitation to measure radiation and the health of the machines that have not been utilized in a long time and could have deteriorated.

6. The Minister of Health reported that the air condition system at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center has been malfunctioning and needs to be replaced at a cost of 1.5 Million USD.

The system is driven by two units and the Cabinet was advised that the replacement may take place in stages; however, the units must be replaced quickly since patients’ need for comfort and the clean air that is necessary in operating rooms can come only from a working air conditioning system with many filters.

The Cabinet voted to provide resources needed to complete phase one of the replacement and to purchase some single units that can relieve the discomfort when the days are really hot.

7. The Cabinet was informed that the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tanks that arrived in Antigua last week are intended to power a new electricity plant that will not be using bunker-c fuel.

LNG is a transitional fuel that would lower the carbon footprint of the state. When the plant comes into operation, Antigua and Barbuda would have more than 70 megawatts of electricity-producing-power; the peak of electricity demand is at 61 megawatts.  Several of the bunker-c units will likely be retired.

8.  The Cabinet learned that a malware attack on APUA was defeated by the experts in the Antigua and Barbuda Information Technology Service and a crisis was averted. In other places, victims have paid a ransom to defeat the virus.

9. The Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda will convene its next sitting on Thursday 7th September, in order to consider a list of amendments to several laws and the adoption of a United Nations Convention.

10. A date for the by-election in the Saint Mary’s South constituency has not been decided, as yet. Cabinet is aware that the latest date on which a by-election can be called is October 26th 2023.

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  1. Any government that keeps dragging any election whether bi, straight or otherwise know the likely outcome and are afraid.

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