HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 28 September 2023
Prayers were delivered by a priest who chose to address the question of superb leadership among leaders in the Bible.
- The Prime Minister gave a report on his recent travel to the United Nations and the many achievements which his team was able to negotiate. His General Assembly statement was very well received, he reported; he addressed the issue of global climate change, and insisted on several approaches that would cause the developed nations to bear the cost of “loss and damage.”
The Prime Minister also addressed the issue of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Conference, to be hosted by Antigua and Barbuda next year May 2024. He successfully received pledges of resources to go towards the conduct of the SIDS Conference. More than 2,000 delegates are expected to visit Antigua over the 5 days of the Conference. A cruise vessel may supplement the hotel rooms that will be made available.
The Prime Minister also reported that a CARICOM/Canada Summit will take place next month. Closer relations with Canada are being developed, especially after the Canadians moved to institute a visa requirement for all persons visiting the country (with a 1,000 mile border with the USA).
- The Cabinet received by telephone the Director of Meteorological Services who provided the meeting with an update on Tropical Storm Phillipe that is moving across the Atlantic Ocean. He advised the Cabinet that a storm watch is to be issued this Wednesday afternoon as the winds associated with the storm are moving at 39-41 mph. When asked about the likelihood of rainfall on Antigua and Barbuda, he estimated as many as two inches of rain could fall. Antigua and Barbuda is NOT in any grave danger; yet continuous attention has to be paid to the movement of this storm.
- The Cabinet addressed a fake news item about Dengue. The Minister of Health confirmed that Antigua and Barbuda is Dengue-free as are all OECS countries. Only one Caribbean country has recently declared that it is dengue affected. The Cabinet continues to urge parents to have their children vaccinated and to pay no attention to the anti-vaxers whose rhetoric, if believed, can adversely affect the children who may be denied vaccination.
The Minister reminded that our vaccination rate for children exceeds 90%. The prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is a subject area that the Minister is currently addressing at the United Nations at this time. He is seeking funding to enlarge the program that will result in lower NCDs in Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS.
- The Cabinet was informed by the representative of St. Johns City West that the exercise of eminent domain over the last house in Booby Alley has not gone forward. The owners have voluntarily stepped forward and consummated the offer that had been on the table prior to the Parliamentary action. The cleared land will shortly be handed over to the Chinese engineers who will be assessing the site for various measurements required prior to the start of construction. More than 100 households will be constructed on the land and those displaced will have the first opportunity to acquire new homes.
- The fencing at the new Cemetery at Tomlinson’s on Factory Road has begun. The Cabinet deemed the commencement of a new cemetery as absolutely necessary since the St. John’s Public Cemetery and the Valley Church Public Cemetery are at capacity. The first burial is likely to take place there in a few weeks.
- The Cabinet agreed that there is a construction boom taking place in Antigua at this moment. Evidence of this high level of activity in the construction industry is reflected in the shortage of aggregates and cement and other building supplies that sell quickly, whenever the supply is replenished. It is reported that supplies of sand are now low.
- The Cabinet has agreed to develop Tanner Street into a pedestrian mall and to allow brightly colored uniform shops to be located along the roadway in an effort to make the City of St. John’s more attractive. Other building owners in the commercial centre and around the city are to be encouraged to improve on the aesthetics of their buildings.
- On Tuesday October 2nd, the Cabinet will tour several housing projects completed by National Housing and CHAPA to give a first-hand view of more than 1000 new homes built by the Gaston Browne administration since taking office. Hundreds of additional homes are to be constructed around the country and keys handed-over immediately upon completion.
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