HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 5 April 2023
The Cabinet meeting commenced at 10:30 am with a prayer from the visiting priest, a Moravian Minister, who read from the Psalms; leadership is heavy and demanding, it read.
- The Cabinet was briefed on the clash between the members of the Royal Police Force, who were acting on a court order, and a male who occupied a wooden house in Booby Alley and refused to exit. The press statement placed in circulation by the Police formed part of the discussion. The Cabinet agreed to have an Assistant Commissioner accompany the Minister during the press conference on Thursday morning. The Booby Alley project will see 150 new homes built on the largely cleared land. The 150 houses will be gifted to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda by the People’s Republic of China, whose Government enquires each week about the readiness of the site in order to commence construction.
- The Cabinet applauded the effectiveness of the NOTICE published in the Gazette on 20 March 2023 which announced the auctioning of the super yacht Alfa Nero. The NOTICE was published over a continuous ten-day period, ending on 31 March 2023. The Cabinet was advised by the Attorney General that the Manager of the Port Authority will examine the bids on Saturday, April 8, 2023; an announcement of the choice will come sometime thereafter.
- The Cabinet invited the Director of Education, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, the President, the General Secretary and two other officials of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) to its meeting, in an effort to provide assurances and to reduce the possibility of any industrial action in the new term. After very intense discussions it was agreed that the Union rep, two Ministers, a survey team from Lands and Survey, and other officials will meet on Tuesday at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy to determine the boundaries of the School, and to begin erecting a fence around the school shortly thereafter. The Union is also of the view that in the process of the reclassification of a number greater than three (teachers), remains unclassified. While that finding was refuted by the Minister of Education, there was agreement that the number receiving pay increases as a result of the reclassification may be much higher. The Treasury has been making payments on the basis of its abilities. The issue of greater security to be achieved by planting more cameras, at six identified schools, has not yet been consummated. The Cabinet promised a greater determination to achieve the desired outcomes. At the end of Cabinet’s meeting, members learned that all the cameras needed arrived at the airport this Wednesday afternoon and installation will continue.
The Minister responsible for Technology has agreed to ensure that all challenges which may be encountered while placing the cameras in strategic places, around the schools, will be overcome quickly in order to ensure the schools’ greater security.
- The Completion of the land registry in Barbuda is proceeding smoothly. One of the contractors joined the Cabinet by ‘Google Meet’ to explain how the Land Registry system in Barbuda will work. The expert shared survey plans, mapping and data migration approaches before the system goes public. It was agreed that a back office team is being trained and that better approximations of timelines can be provided two Wednesdays from today.
- The Registrar of the High Court was invited by way of Zoom link to share with Cabinet the preparations that are being made to welcome a new High Court Judge on May 1, 2023. A list of items to be purchased was shared with the Cabinet for the purpose of providing the resources necessary to equip the Office and Courtroom which the Judge will occupy.
- The Cabinet received a report on water shortages as a consequence of a continuing drought. Greater efforts continue to be exerted in order to ensure that every community receives some water several times each week. The rough seas are beginning to abate and the reverse osmosis plants are capable of increasing productivity. There are six reverse osmosis plants that are capable of producing 8.5 million gallons daily. At the moment they are producing at little more than 70% capacity but will likely increase as the sand, pebbles and shells fall to the seabed and the water becomes less turbid.
- The Cabinet was informed by the Minister of Agriculture that an eggbox-making machine will shortly become available, so that egg production in Antigua can be enhanced by use of the local production of the boxes in which the eggs are shipped and sold. Likewise, the Cabinet agreed to invest in the Cades Bay pineapple fields in order to increase pineapple production. The demand for the Antigua Black Pineapple exceeds the current supply.
- The Cabinet received a report from the Minister of Sports regarding Community cricket playfields around the country that are in need of upgrade. The Cabinet proposed that consideration be given to utilizing the best cricket pitch curator that Antigua has produced in recent years to improve the community cricket playfields, so that many young talented cricketers can be better helped to emerge as professionals.
- The Cabinet learned that many of the sunscreen products, used by tourists to keep ultra violet rays from harming the skin while sunbathing, have proven harmful to coral and reefs. The sunscreen products without the harmful chemical will gradually replace the harmful sunscreen through a phased approach to the discontinuation.
- i. The Cabinet was reminded by the Attorney General that no liquor is to be sold from midnight Thursday night to midnight Friday night, or for 24 hours during Good Friday, the holiest day on the Christian Calendar.
- Seven Police Officers from the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda will join the Regional Security System (RSS) in St. Lucia to help to battle crime.
iii. The plans for the expansion of the UWI Five Islands Campus are congealing. It is estimated that dormitory-capacity for 3,500 students will be a part of the program. The planners estimate that these numbers will not be sufficient to meet student demand for housing. Private sector actors
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Not a thing took place in Cabinet yesterday.
The Cabinet need some termites with all them old wood brains. These out of ideas greedy Labourites. You all hear about the two new excavator that just came in for the creative enrichment scheme?
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