CABINET NOTES Of Wednesday 1 May 2024


HURST REPORTS ON CABINET Of Wednesday 1 May 2024

The Cabinet meeting commenced with a prayer. The Prime Minister is away on official business; the meeting was chaired by the Attorney General who also serves as the Acting Prime Minister until P.M. Browne returns on Saturday 4 May 2024.

1. 1. The Cabinet invited to its meeting the medalists from the recently-held CARIFTA Games, their coaches and their parents, in order to applaud the teams of people responsible for the athletes’ outstanding performances during the Games. 10 medalists, including track and field athletes, the Javelinist, swimmers and sprinters each introduced themselves and told the Cabinet members how the medal was won.

The coaches also addressed the Cabinet, as did the parents accompanying their children.

They all thanked the Cabinet for the role the Executive played in supporting the student-athletes by providing resources to allow their participation in the Games hosted in Grenada and the Bahamas. Several Cabinet members, including the Minister of Sports, addressed the growing needs of athletes, and the improvements required to produce superior winners.

The Minister of Education also informed the Cabinet that commencing this September, the UWI-Five Islands Campus will offer academic programs in several sports related disciplines.  

The Minister of Education also indicated that discussions have commenced with the Principal of the UWI Five Islands Campus to partner with the Ministry of Sports to develop a national program for the identification and development of our athletes.  The athletes, their coaches, and their parents were all very pleased.

2The Cabinet invited a team of four lawyers from the Ministry of Legal Affairs to examine the Traffic Laws and the laws governing the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board (ABTB) in order to give more authority to law enforcement to stem the number of traffic accidents. 

Collisions cause death, destruction of property, and injuries that result in the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center (SLBMC) Emergency Operating Rooms to become full to capacity with injured drivers and passengers, especially on weekends and holidays.

The Cabinet has asked the team to seek out the data from the Royal Police Force, the Transport Board, and the SLMBC to determine: What age group and gender was driving? How much the offender was speeding? What time of day and what day of the week was the accident? What vehicle make was involved? Did the drivers have proper insurance and licences? And other relevant data that can be intelligently analyzed. Amending the law requires the input of data to match the source cause.

The use of breathalyzers has already been made law, and that device will be utilized when alcohol or other intoxicating inputs are suspected.

3. The Cabinet invited, by telephone, the new private owners of the Cancer Center to provide a start-date for the re-opening of the Cancer Center. 

The owners could not provide a fixed date, although the Cabinet was informed that the original private owners of the machines were driving a hard bargain. The idea is for the new owners to purchase and to repair the old machines, and to add their own new systems for curing/alleviating cancer from the body by capturing the cells in the bloodstream.

The bargaining with the original owners will intensify. They are the culprits who sought US$40 million for equipment valued at US$9 million.

4. The Minister of Foreign Affairs provided a written report to Cabinet Members on the readiness of the planners to receive the 3,000 or more delegates likely to travel to Antigua for the May 27 to May 30, 2024, International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4). The written Report is intended for internal uses only.

The hotels and the other accommodations are fast filling-up, as the dates draw near; more sites are being examined to ensure they meet the high standards set by the Ministry. Additional flights on the days immediately before the Conference and after the Conference are being planned. The airlines are reminded of their promise to add flights.

Transport systems are being ironed out to allow for the smooth collection from the airport, transport to the place of accommodation, and to and from the Conference Center daily at the American University of Antigua (AUA); the system planners report that they are all falling in place.

The Conference Center itself is very close to completion and was visited by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Works, and other officials (including the Foreign Minister himself); they were satisfied that it will be ready long before the start date.

The landscaping and the carpark are also being undertaken by both the AUA and the Ministry of Works.

The field hospital is being constructed on the grounds of the AUA and will be fully staffed during the days of the Conference; that medical site is 90% complete. High speed fiber optic lines are nearly complete to allow for high loads during the days of the Conference.

5.  The Cabinet reminds that a holiday weekend is approaching in celebration of Labour Day 2024, on 6 May 2024. The trade unions will hold functions in celebration of the holiday.

The AT&LU will hold a Social Evening on Friday night, 3 May, from 6 am to 12 midnight at 46 North Street—the birthplace of trade unionism in Antigua and Barbuda.

A Labour Queen Pageant will be held on Saturday evening from 8:00 pm at the People’s Place on Nugent Avenue; nine intelligent and stunning females will compete for the crown.

Then on Monday morning, May 6, 2024, the AT&LU and the ABLP will gather at the V.C. Bird bust from 9:00 am to hold a rally, before marching up Market Street to the Union Headquarters,, and then down to Fort James for a day of celebration.

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union will gather at an open field next to the T.N. Kirnon School on Old Parham Road for a rally. It will then proceed to Ffryes Bay for picnicking.

The Cabinet urges drivers of buses and cars to exercise due care, and to swimmers on the beaches to heed the warnings of the Meteorological Office about ocean currents and waves.  

Labour Day 2024 marks 73 years since the holiday is celebrated in Antigua and Barbuda.

6. The Cabinet took note of the funeral and burial of former Justice Moe at the St. George’s Church in Fitches Creek on Thursday 2 May 2024, at 2:00 pm. Condolences to his widow and offspring were expressed by the Cabinet.

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