ISSUE NO.64 April 2002
created in Parliament
History was created on April 2nd when Attorney-General Gertel Thom
made a presentation to the annual appropriations Bill in the House
of Representatives. It was the first time that a woman had presented
a detailed schedule of legislative measures to be placed before parliamentarians
during a session of Parliament.
Her other presentations were as follows:
Protection of the child
One of the most important pieces of legislation to be put before
the House deals with protection of the child.
Recognizing that the government had set up a task force to tackle
child pornography, the Attorney-General said that legislation would
be instituted to establish a child care board, comprising members
from the government and selected members of the public who work
Its functions will include the counselling of children in need,
the placement and supervision of children in foster homes, and
the regulation of private institutions that provide day care services.
The board will be funded by the consolidated fund and donations
from individuals and organisations.
Ms.Thom explained "Prime consideration will be given to the
reform of the administration of the juvenile justice system. And
serious consideration will have to be given to the whole legislative
spectrum with respect to the child and women.
Disaster Preparedness Bills
As the country prepares itself for the approaching hurricane
season, Attorney-General Gertel Thom has disclosed that government
will be introducing two important pieces of legislation which will
govern the running of disaster services and insurance companies
in the country.
"It will also provide for the appointment of a director who
would be responsible for preparation of a disaster preparedness
review policy and the appropriate disaster preparedness and response
The first bill, dealing with disaster preparedness, was drafted
under the guidance of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response
Agency and will be introduced to the House of Representatives shortly.
Ms Thom explained that the bill's objective would be to provide
an efficient and effective disaster management control system.
She specified that, "This bill will make provisions for a
disaster preparedness and response advisory committee, which will
consist of persons from within government departments and also
The second new bill deals with disaster insurance and relocates
the insurance office to within the financial services sector. It
addresses the subject of averages as it pertains to claims, and
the problem of homeowners receiving less compensation than they
The Attorney-General promised that the public would be fully consulted
on the new legislation and pledged to bring the two bills to Parliament
during the current parliamentary session.
Electoral Reform Bill
The Attorney-General informed the House of Representatives that
the government intends to continue the process of electoral reform.
Last December, the House of Representatives passed amendments
to the Representation of the People Act, 2001, which sought to
reform and restructure the electoral process thereby establishing
a transparent system for registration and a framework for the conduct
of free and fair elections.
The new Bill has been circulated to a number of organisations
and individuals and has been discussed in public forums. As a result
Schedules 1 and 11 of the present Act are to be repealed and replaced
with legislation outlining the procedure for the conduct of elections
and regulating voter registration.
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US Ambassador pays first visit
|Prime Minister Lester Bird and US
||US Ambassador and Deputy Governor-General
Mr Earl N. Phillips Jr., the new US Ambassador to Antigua and
Barbuda, presented his credentials to the Governor-General's Deputy,
Ms. Yvonne Maginley on the 10th April. Mr Phillips has just taken
up his appointment as US Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean and
is based at the mission in Barbados.
At his presentation ceremony, Ambassador Phillips spoke of the
relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States. "The
United States and Antigua and Barbuda have a rich common historical
heritage which includes shared traditions of democratic governance,
respect for the rule of law and the observance of human rights.
We are neighbours with similar interests and we are growing even
closer in the new century."
He also visited the US Air Station at Coolidge, and paid a courtesy
call on the Leader of the Opposition, Baldwin Spencer.
Prime Minister Lester Bird, who met the new ambassador the day
before the presentation, welcomed him to Antigua and Barbuda and
stressed the country's close cooperation with the United States
on a variety of issues.
The discussions which centered on several bilateral and multilateral
issues, lasted for an hour.
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All-male nominees an unwelcome departure
APOWA - the Professional Organisation for Women in Antigua and
Barbuda - has declared that the government's decision to nominate
an all male panel to serve on the new Electoral Reform Commission "represents
an unwelcome departure from the administration's stated aim of
appointing more women to senior and top positions.'"
In a recent release, POWA admitted that the present government
has appointed more women than any other administration in the history
of the country. However, it pointed out that Antigua and Barbuda
still remains well behind its colleagues in the OECS, Caricom and
indeed the Commonwealth when it comes to promoting the role of
women in issues of governance and politics.
The organisation expressed its deep concern that no women had
been nominated to serve on the Commission in its seven year long
POWA has therefore put forward four women who would be prepared
to serve on the Commission.
It intends to write to both the Prime Minister and the leader
of the opposition in the hope that the initial nominations might
POWA demurred "We sincerely hope that both leaders will
see fit to rethink their nominations in order to rectify what we
consider to have been an oversight in not including women in their
In response to POWA's concerns the government stated that "The
Attorney-General is a woman, the President of the Senate is a woman,
so is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Principal
of the Antigua State College is a woman and just recently a brilliant
young woman was appointed as a Senator in the Upper House. The
Resident Tutor of the School for Continuing Studies of the University
of the West Indies is also a woman, the Deputy Governor-General
is a woman. Therefore, this talk about women being sidelined politically
is a tad away from the truth."
It also pointed out that the present administration continues
to work for the advancement of women in Antigua and Barbuda.
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Government of China to
consider upgrading the Antigua Recreation Grounds
|Prime Minister Lester
Bird and Ambassador Yang Shixiang
||Director of Public Works B.T. Lewis
signs Design Contract while Chinese interpreter assists
On Thursday March 28, the People's Republic of China and the Government
of Antigua and Barbuda signed an agreement for the renovation of
the track and lighting system of YASCO Sports Complex.
The agreement paves the way for the replacement of 400 meters
of training tracks surface at YASCO, the construction of a round-drainage
covered ditch inside the track, and the improvement of the lighting
system at the training football field and track.
Prime Minister Bird thanked the Chinese Government for its assistance
in the development of sports in Antigua and Barbuda and also praised
Chinese Ambassador Mr. Yang Shixiang for his efforts in fostering
the close relationship that exists between both countries.
In addition, the Prime Minister urged the representative of the
government of China to consider assisting in the upgrade of the
Antigua Recreation Grounds. He said that this would be of great
significance to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and he plans
to discuss the issue further with the Government of China when
he visits later this year.
Also during the ceremony, Director of Public Works Mr. B.T. Lewis
signed a contract for an improvement project for the Antigua and
Barbuda Exhibition Centre. The Renovation work on the Multi-Purpose
Cultural and Exhibition Centre is expected to commence within a
few weeks time with the arrival of materials and equipment for
the completion of the project. The work will include tile replacement
at the Centre's Perry Bay entrance, the construction of a 100 seat
pavilion and three new main gates.
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will not consider wholesale retrenchment
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Asot
Michael has ruled out government cutting its workforce. Debating
the 2002 Budget in the Senate on 18th April, Michael said that "government
cannot and will not consider, at this time, any wholesale retrenchment
of public sector employees, until such time as it finds the ways
and means to cut expenditure and increase revenue collection measures."
However, Senator Michael said that government would be looking
at a home-grown adjustment programme of stabilisation, whereby
it would actively pursue alternative employment designed to redeploy
existing government workers in the public service and the private
"In an effort to gain broad based support for its adjustment
programme, the government held extensive talks with the Antigua
Trades and Labour Union, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the
Caribbean Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank," Senator Michael said.
Although he acknowledged that something must be done about the
size of the public sector, he nevertheless stated, "Our employment
policy has resulted in Antiguans and Barbudans, including public
servants, being able to enjoy a high standard of living and a good
quality of life, considered amongst the highest in the world. We
recognise though, that the time has come for a different strategy
to be employed."
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Offshore banks to establish
physical presence in Antigua and Barbuda
Offshore Financial Institutions in Antigua and
Barbuda have agreed to establish a physical presence in Antigua
This agreement was reached during a one day Offshore
Banker's Consultation organized by the International Financial
Sector Regulatory Authority (IFSRA), which was held in Antigua
and Barbuda at the Jolly Beach Resort on Tuesday 26th March 2002.
During the consultation, Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua
and Barbuda's Chief Negotiator on International Financial Services
and High Commissioner to London outlined the US Patriot Act, that
prohibits US licensed financial institutions from having correspondent
accounts with banks that do not have any physical presence in an
Sir Ronald pointed out that sixteen of the twenty-one
financial institutions registered in Antigua and Barbuda do not
have a physical presence.
He explained that if these banks wish to enjoy correspondent relations with
United States banks, they must comply with the Patriot Act and establish a
physical presence in Antigua and Barbuda.
Sir Ronald seemed satisfied with the outcome of
the conference, saying, "I am pleased to say that as a result
of the consultation, all of the banks have agreed to establish
a physical presence in Antigua and Barbuda and that's good news.
It means that they will be renting buildings, renting homes to
house their staff and buying vehicles. They will also contribute
to the purchase of goods and services in the private sector and
all of this is going to help to stimulate the economy."
He gave assurances that the banks will each have
compliance officers who will report suspicious transactions to
the country's Financial Intelligence Unit and that every effort
will be made to ensure that the cost of doing business in Antigua
and Barbuda, including the level of taxation, is competitive with
other jurisdictions. Sir Ronald further noted that both the economy
of Antigua and Barbuda and the banks would ultimately benefit from
Sir Ronald also explained that the bankers had
agreed to harmonize reporting and International Prudential Standards.
Under the guidance of IFSRA the banks will keep a percentage of
their deposits in reserve so that depositors are not put at risk
and their money remains safe.
Bankers from as far as Holland, Panama and Curacao
attended the consultation, which also produced a unanimous agreement
on the importance of determined efforts to combat money laundering
in all its forms, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism.
At the conclusion of the Consultation, all parties
concerned expressed a desire to hold similar meetings every two
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and Barbuda countering money laundering
|HE Sir Ronald Sanders,
Chief Foreign Affairs Representative
with Ministerial Rank and High Commissioner
Antigua and Barbuda is getting tough with money launderers.
Head of Antigua and Barbuda's delegation, Sir Ronald Sanders,
told a meeting of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, held
in Tobago from April 8 to 10, that Antigua and Barbuda would shortly
be introducing legislation in parliament providing for civil forfeiture
of the proceeds of crime in money laundering cases.
Sir Ronald, in remarks made to the conference, said the driving
force behind the proposed legislation, "is the observation
that the vast majority of persons who commit serious money laundering
offences within Antigua and Barbuda are domiciled elsewhere and
launder the proceeds of foreign offences".
He informed members of the task force, who come from the English-
speaking Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela and Central
America, that the legislation has already been prepared.
Sir Ronald said that following arguments put forward by Antigua
and Barbuda, a decision was taken to reorganise the Caribbean Financial
Action Task Force to enable it to advocate the position of its
members more audibly in international meetings.
He explained that the Memorandum of Understanding, which established
the CFATF, was outmoded and that a working group comprising representatives
from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Panama, Venezuela
and the Dominican Republic had been set up to reform the organisation.
Sir Ronald added that greater advocacy of the Caribbean's position
is required at the Paris meetings of the FATF, where the standards
are set and the rules made by the G7 countries. He said that the
situation in which decisions are taken without the participation
of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force should be avoided.
The regional working group has to meet and submit a report before
October, Sir Ronald went on.
In addition to strengthening the tools available to the Office
of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) to
combat money laundering, the government of Antigua and Barbuda
has also resolved to strengthen the ONDCP itself.
"This is to be done by means of the ONDCP Bill, which will
also be presented to Parliament this Spring. When this Bill is
enacted, the ONDCP will cease to be an arm of the executive and
will become a statutory institution with special responsibility
for the enforcement of Antigua and Barbuda's anti-money laundering
legislation," Sir Ronald stated.
He continued: "In addition to establishing the ONDCP as
an institution in itself, the legislation will provide for the
appointment of a Director and of Investigation Officers with powers
to investigate breaches of our money laundering laws."
The Tobago meeting received applications from Guyana and Honduras
and agreed to advise the Ministerial council meeting to be held
in October that these applications should be accepted. Representatives
from donor countries, the United States, Britain, Canada, France
and institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB), the United Nations and the European Union also attended
the April 8-10 meeting.
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for hospital official
Hazelyn Martin-Henry, Chief Medical Technologist of the Holberton
Hospital, was last month admitted as 'member' to the American College
of Health Care Executives (ACHE).
Founded in 1933, ACHE is an international professional society
which represents nearly 30,000 healthcare executives. After being
admitted as 'members', professionals can progress to higher titular
levels after exams and a number of years' demonstrated service.
A past student of the Antigua Girls' High School, Ms. Martin-Henry
holds a certificate with merit from the College of Arts, Science & Technology
in Jamaica, a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of
Maryland, USA, and a Masters of Science in Health Services Management
from the University of London. She is a member of the American
Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Academy
of Microbiology. She has been employed at the Holberton Hospital
for more than 25 years.
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walk for health
enthusiastic nationals during their three and a half mile
walk to celebrate World Walk for Health Day
On Sunday 7th April, 2002 Antiguans responded to the call of the
country's Chief Health Inspector, Lionel Michael, inviting them
to turn out en masse for a three and a half mile walk to celebrate
World Walk for Health Day across the city of St. John's.
According to the Health Chief, "Lack of exercise and poor
style of life across the globe has led to an increase in chronic
diseases, which have now taken over from communicable diseases
as the number one threat to health."
In addition, Mr. Michael pointed out that the walk was a social and psychological
event. He called on the nation to exercise regularly in order to reduce diseases
like hypertension and diabetes.
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persons to benefit from vocational training
On 9th April a 22-year-old women and 24-year-old man, both with
disabilities, began technical vocational training at the National
Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) in San Fernando, Trinidad.
Rhonda Stevens, who is hearing-impaired, and Bernard Warner,
who is an amputee, travelled to Trinidad on scholarships from the
Antigua and Barbuda Association of Persons with Disabilities (ABAPD)
to take up a 10-month training course in office practice and woodwork/upholstery
The candidates will receive vocational assessment and testing,
computer literacy, remedial education and independent living skills
as part of the total package, in addition to certification in the
The scholarships are funded in part by the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB) and facilitated by the Disabled Peoples' Organizations
of the Caribbean (DPOC)
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Centennial Quilt presented in Antigua
|The PAHO Centennial Quilt displayed
by Nurses at the Nurses Association Building in St John's
||A section of the honourees
On Thursday 11th April, the Ministry of Health and Social Improvement
held a ceremony to mark the acceptance of the Pan American Health
Organisation (PAHO) Centennial Quilt at the Nurses Association
Headquarters Building in St. John's.
During the ceremony twenty-three persons including two Organisations
were honoured as National Health Heroes/Heroines and philanthropists.
Among those honoured were Doctors Margaret O'garro, L.J. Charles
Snr., Ivor Heath, Charles Locker and Prince Ramsey, Ambassador
Adolphus Freeland, Nurse Helen Challenger, Ms. Sheila Pigott, Mr.
Lionel Michael, the Mill Reef Club and Friends of Holberton Hospital.
Senator Sam Aymer, Adviser to the Minister of Health, delivered
the keynote address and accepted the Centennial Quilt, presented
by Ms. Clare Forrester - Media Communications Adviser and Co-ordinator
of the PAHO Centennial Celebrations in the sub-region.
The Quilt is made up of flags of the countries that belong to
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discloses his personal assets to the House
|Gaston Browne, Parliamentary
Representative for the constituency of St John's City West
In the light of increasing calls for government transparency,
parliamentary representative for the constituency of St. John's
City West, Gaston Browne, has voluntarily disclosed his personal
assets. Mr Browne made the disclosure on 4th April during his contributions
to the 2002 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
He told fellow members that he was participating in two ventures:
the first in heavy-duty equipment, the second in construction of
small housing units for lower working class citizens of Antigua
He said, "Having come out of the private sector and recognised
that there is strong public demand for transparency and good governance
by public officials in Antigua and Barbuda, I have chosen to declare
my interests in these areas, which are designed to provide employment
opportunities for young nationals. The bottom line is that I am
seeking to find employment for my people, and am hoping that before
the general elections, I will employ 50 from my own constituency."
The City West MP informed his colleagues that, although he often
found himself in trouble with his business partners when he did
work for free, he was committed to using the resources available
to him to help poor people. He explained, "What I have done
is to sacrifice my standard of living and invest my money as an
economic contribution to the development of this country."
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Percival cautions against
| Bernard Percival,
for St John's Rural North
Former Health Minister and now backbencher Bernard Percival cautioned
members of the parliamentary opposition on 4th April to be careful
in their apparent support for those who are bent on criticising
the government's every move.
Mr Percival told the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP)
that "It is quite easy for you to criticise, but when you
are sitting on this side of the aisle, and when you are the one
preparing to take this country forward under all the adversity,
that is when you will truly recognise what leadership is all about."
He went on to deplore those areas of the media which he claimed
had built their popularity on a policy of knocking the political
directorate of the country, regardless of the party in power. He
warned the opposition, "We cannot continue on a daily basis
attacking the very pillars of that democracy; attacking the very
institutions of that democracy; and attacking the very individuals
who would ensure that democracy survives in our country."
Addressing the atmosphere of hostility prevailing over the political
arena in Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Percival appealed to all present-day
politicians to set a better example for young people. If not, he
said, " it means that we fail to attract young men and women
to come into the field. We leave them with the feeling that it
is a dirty business and that all we do is rant and rave, criticise
Finally, Mr Percival advised against the practice of reviling
investors who had used their financial resources to help develop
He had high praise for the efforts of Texan investor R. Allen
Stanford. The MP thought that Mr Stanford demonstrated professionalism
and quality in all his investments in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly
in the Airport Development Project.
Mr. Percival reminded his colleagues that Mr Stanford had shown
a steadfast commitment to the country, in spite of overtures from
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American Bank has a new name
The Swiss American Bank Ltd., the first established offshore
jurisdiction, has unveiled a new image and has announced a change
of name to Global Bank of Commerce, Ltd.
Swiss American was formed in April 1983 and became the first International
Financial institution governed by the International Business Corporations,
Act of 1982.
The Bank's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian Stuart-Young,
says that the name change better reflects the new business strategy;
that of expanding its technology-driven products to support electronic
commerce, and to further improve existing products and service
regionally and internationally.
"The landscape for international financial services has altered
significantly in terms of the jurisdictional environment, improved
regulations and compliance with international standards," said
In this context, the Bank's shareholders and Board of Directors
have strategically positioned the Bank so that it provides the
highest quality expertise in global financial services: its commitment
to best practices in banking enhanced by the benefit of cutting-edge
communications and payment delivery systems.
Chief Operating Officer Vere Hill, explained that future plans
for development include the introduction of Internet Banking Services
and the re-branding of their current credit card services using
the new name.
He added that the Bank will also be launching a new Debit Card
product and forecast that there would be a general concentration
on establishing strong payment systems for account management and
commerce, with specific attention to web-based transactions.
Global Bank of Commerce is located at Woods Centre and owns banking
premises on the Friar's Hill Road. A local Board of Directors,
management and thirty members of staff operate the Bank.
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Observer Group once
again violating Law
The Observer Group is again violating the terms of a licence
granted to one of it's members, Venture Capital Ltd, to provide
Internet service for data. The company is depriving taxpayers of
Antigua and Barbuda of money that belongs to the State.
Both Cable and Wireless and APUA have complained to the Ministry of Telecommunications,
saying that they have reliable information that international telephone calls
are being received and distributed at the premises of Observer Publications
in St. John's which are bypassing both Cable and Wireless and APUA. This is
both a flagrant violation of the law and the terms of the licence granted by
the government to Venture Capital Ltd, owned by the Derricks.
A few weeks ago the telecommunications Director was forced to seize a VSAT
located at the home of Winston Derrick which was being used to siphon off millions
of dollars in international telephone calls from both Cable and Wireless and
APUA. In addition, no taxes were being paid on these calls and the taxpayers
of Antigua and Barbuda were being robbed of revenue that should accrue to the
The High Court had granted a mandatory injunction instructing
APUA to provide circuits to the Observer Group ostensibly for the
use of the Radio Station. It now appears that the Court may have
The Ministry has launched an investigation into this affair. It is said that
appropriate action will be taken to ensure that the taxpayers of Antigua and
Barbuda are not defrauded, and that the legitimate operations of Cable and
Wireless and APUA, both of which employ hundreds of people, are not jeopardised.
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|Junior Minister of
Finance, Senator Asot Michael
The lives of the five Indian forensic tax consultants on loan
to the government by the government of India have been threatened.
Junior Minister of Finance Senator Asot Michael revealed that
the Indian team, which is in Antigua to assist the government with
its tax collection machinery, "has been receiving violent
threats from the business community, threatening their lives if
they don't get out of the country."
Senator Michael made the revelation in the Senate during debate
on the 2002 Budget. He explained "We have to provide them
with security at their homes, and, we will give them whatever security
is necessary in order to protect them. I also want to applaud them
for the good job they are doing in revealing millions of dollars
outstanding from the business community".
The Junior Finance Minister further disclosed that a local business,
registered in the country since 1962, had taken the government
to court, challenging the amendments to the Income Tax Law.
"This Caribbean company has been registered in this country
since 1962. They have never paid, one red cent in taxes. This begs
the question: if they have not paid any taxes and have consistently
over the years shown losses - why would they still be in business
since 1962 and every single year declare a loss?" Senator
Senator Michael pointed out that there is not only a culture of
tax avoidance and but also of tax evasion in the country. He said "the
government will deal with companies that deliberately and flagrantly
engage in harmful tax practices and will, if necessary, prosecute
tax avoiders and evaders alike."
The Junior Finance Minister further noted that 75 per cent of
unincorporated businesses had not paid their two per cent return,
while over 4,000 businesses including lawyers, doctors, architects
pay absolutely no tax at all.
"There is much 'to-do' about our debt, but I hear no concern
voiced by the leaders of the private sector, the Antigua and Barbuda
Chamber of Commerce, the non governmental organisations - no concern
that the arrears of corporate tax stands at nearly $100 million.
We are not introducing any new taxes at all, what we are saying
is that we will collect the existing taxes that are on books -
we are going to enforce this rigidly," Senator Michael announced.
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Government moves to
collect outstanding taxes
The Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), William
Schouten has revealed that the Government is preparing to take
defaulters to court in order to collect outstanding taxes and other
monies owed to it.
Mr. Schouten pointed out that, whilst some business owners have
objected to the assessments and have entered appeals, the courts
have dismissed a number of these, because most persons did not
follow the requirements of the process as stated in the Income
Tax Amendment Act 2000.
The Commissioner explained that the IRD has also stepped up its programme of
auditing the accounts of businesses and is appealing to corporate taxpayers
to support the effort by furnishing officers with the information needed to
carry out these assessments.
In the 2002 Budget Address, Prime Minister Lester Bird, who is also the Minister
of Finance, drew attention to the fact that a number of businesses have been
failing in their duty to pay taxes. He warned that the Government will move
speedily to collect the revenue it is owed.
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Minister Bird accepts Minister's resignation
|Former Trade and Industry Minister,
||The Medical Benefits Building on Nevis
In an address to the nation on the evening of Saturday 20th April,
Prime Minister Lester Bird announced that he had accepted the letter
of resignation tendered by the former Health Minister, Hilroy Humphreys,
in an episode which vindicates and strengthens the workings of
open democracy in Antigua.
Mr. Humphreys has been one of the subjects of an ongoing investigation
conducted by the Commission of Enquiry into alleged irregularities
at the Medical Benefits Scheme.
Mr. Humphreys, who until his resignation was the Minister responsible
for Trade and Consumer Affairs, defended his decision to step down
as 'honourable', and claimed that his errors in office had been
made in good faith.
He admitted that, "on reflection I may have acted hastily
and without due care and attention, but that at all times it was
for the benefit of my constituents."
His resignation follows a decisive move made by the Prime Minister
last year to relieve three ministers of their posts.
In his statement, the Prime Minister endorsed Mr. Humphreys'
decision as "the fit and proper thing after full, free and
open discussions with me."
Recognising that the Minister's "misjudgements" had
been deeply regrettable, he stressed that Humphreys had rightly
reacted to his "political conscience", born of so many
years' able government service in two Labour Party administrations.
However, the Prime Minister emphasised that with the event of
Mr. Humphreys' resignation and an independent external enquiry
initiated by the government, "we are witnessing the democratic
process in full motion.
"In a less democratic state, these open wounds would have
been masked from the public gaze, if not hidden altogether." He
reaffirmed his dedication to the democratic imperative of addressing
the weaknesses and faults of government transparently, in an effort
to enhance governance of the nation as a whole.
The enquiry into ministerial abuses of the Medical Benefits Scheme
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and Barbuda responds to FATF questionnaire on terrorism financing
ahead of schedule
Antigua and Barbuda has responded ahead of schedule to a questionnaire
on curbing terrorism financing from the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF). On the 25th April, the country's Chief Foreign Affairs
Representative with Ministerial Rank, Sir Ronald Sanders, submitted
Antigua and Barbuda's answers to the Paris-based FATF.
The FATF is a body established by the world's seven most developed
countries to establish standards and practices for fighting money
laundering. On 31st October last year in the wake of the atrocities
of September 11th in the United States, the mandate of the body
was extended to include curbing terrorism financing. The FATF set
eight criteria by which it judges the compliance of jurisdictions
in the international fight against terrorism financing.
On 31st January this year, the FATF issued a questionnaire seeking
information on the extent to which jurisdictions have implemented
measures relating to the special recommendations on terrorist financing.
The body set 1st May as the deadline for the submission of answers.
Sir Ronald said, "On March 6th, Prime Minister Lester Bird
asked me to head a high-level committee to measure Antigua and
Barbuda's legislative and other machinery against the FATF criteria
and to prepare answers to the Questionnaire. I am pleased to say
that Antigua and Barbuda measured up well against the criteria
particularly as we are one of the few countries in the Caribbean
to have passed legislation criminalizing the financing of terrorism".
The Antigua and Barbuda diplomat said, "Mr Bird is determined
that Antigua and Barbuda's should be proactive in ensuring that
our financial institutions are not used for money laundering and
terrorism financing. We want our jurisdiction to continue to be
seen as dealing only with legitimate business".
Sir Ronald paid tribute to the work of his colleagues on the
high-level Committee who included Lebrecht Hesse and Althea Crick
of the International Financial Sector Regulatory Authority and
Wrenford Ferrance, Clive Scott and Alan Reid of the Office of National
Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy.
"Obviously from the answers submitted to the Questionnaire,
or if they receive no answers at all, the FATF will be able to
judge the level of compliance of jurisdictions around the world
with the new criteria for fighting terrorist financing", Sir
"It may be that the FATF will find that some jurisdictions
have much to do to be in compliance, but I am confident Antigua
and Barbuda will not be one of them", the Antigua and Barbuda
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rated 'best in the world'
Antigua and Barbuda has received top ratings from a number
of skippers who took part in the recent Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta
and Tall Ships World Peace Cup.
"There is no port in the world where you sail out of the
harbour and catch the wind like we do in Antigua," said Uli
Pruesse, skipper of the Tall Ship, Star Clipper.
The Star Clipper was one of two Tall Ships which competed in this
year's "Old Road" 20 mile race. The other being Eye of
the Wind. Now in its 15th year, the competition is one of the biggest
classic regattas in the world, with an average of 50 entrants.
In 2000, the Antigua Classic was the biggest of all the Classics
Pruesse said that while the conditions may be the 'best in the
world', there needs to be a conscious effort by Antiguans to rally
around the sport.
Mike Cox, skipper of Velsheda, which won the first race of the
regatta, supported the claims made by Pruesse, "I love racing
in Antigua," Cox said, "it is one of the best places
in the world to race."
Skipper Thomas Perry added that, not only are the conditions top
class, but the services offered at the Antigua Yacht Club and the
Falmouth Harbour can be compared to any such services worldwide.
"The local support at this facility is tremendous, there
is no shortage of skilled labour, which is second to none around
the world and the services are superb and parts along with just
about anything necessary for smooth sailing are available here," Perry
The services at the Antigua Yacht Club include free satellite
direct to the boats with eight major channels for sports, news
There are also internet, fax telephone, FedEx and mail services
as well as brokerage on incoming shipments such as spare parts,
containers and crew mail.
While the racing conditions and services are world class, Pruesse
said that more has to be done in order to accommodate the large
vessels in order to attract more Tall Ships race entrants.
"I can envision 20 Tall Ships in the harbour waiting to race
in this event in the future, but for that to happen, the harbour
will have to be dredged," Pruesse said.
Pruesse stated that "More ships will come but at the moment,
because of the shallow depth of the harbour, we are able to dock
up at the pier, which is a deterrent to some people."
He is, however, quite aware of the strong opposition to dredging
in Antigua waters.
Members of the public expressed concerns about the environment
when the government decided to dredge the St. John's harbour to
accommodate mega-ships for the cruise industry.
"Each year, billions of dollars worth of boats participate
in the Classic Regatta and their contribution to the economy is
tremendous," Pruesse said.
"If a balance could be found whereby we could dredge yet
be mindful of the environment, then the economy would benefit immensely."
This suggestion will have to be seriously considered as tourism
worldwide, especially after the terrorists attack on the World
Trade Centre in the United States, is under threat.
"I think that the attitude of the people towards yachting
will have to change if we are to maintain this vibrant economy,
which we can ill-afford to lose," Pruesse added.
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largest cruise liner docks in Antigua
|The world's largest cruise ship 'The
Adventure of the Seas' docked at Heritage Quay Port in Antigua
||A view of the interior
of the cruise liner
Cruise tourism in Antigua and Barbuda got a major boost on Wednesday
17th April when the Adventure of the Seas, the world's largest
cruise ship, docked at the Heritage Quay Port in St. John's with
over 3000 passengers, on its inaugural visit.
Adventure of the Seas has been described as a revolutionary marvel
of naval engineering. It is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean
International from Miami, Florida. The ship's features include
an ice-skating rink; a royal promenade; rock climbing wall, a five-storey
theatre and an excellent fitness centre.
Tourism Officials in Antigua and Barbuda expressed their delight in having
the Adventure of the Seas in town because its weekly visits are good news for
the country's cruise tourism product.
Speaking at a special reception to market the occasion, the Director
of Government Relations for Royal Caribbean International (RCI),
Alfred Sanchez, said he was delighted to be in Antigua once more,
and was impressed with what he saw. He explained "I go island
hopping quite a bit in my role and I am able to see much of what's
going on in the Caribbean, and I have to say that in my experience,
there is not another island in the entire Caribbean that is spending
as much time, effort, money and energy in every facet of the community.
From the sea port to the hospital, airport and the roadways."
He complimented Prime Minister Lester Bird for his leadership
in charting the course development of Antigua and Barbuda.
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Rosewood Hotels and
Resorts to manage Jumby Bay Resort
Rosewood Hotels and Resorts has announced that it will assume
management of the exclusive private island hideaway, Jumby Bay,
Antigua. The announcement was made jointly by Jim Brown, President
of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts and Roland Franklin, Director of
the Jumby Bay Island Company.
The 39-room property will immediately undergo a $2.5 million-plus
refurbishment which is scheduled to be completed by the end of
Dan Reid, formerly of the Amanusa Resort in Bali, has been named
managing director of Jumby Bay. Reid has worked in Antigua before
and brings extensive Caribbean experience to the position.
"We look forward to our new partnership with this well-regarded
and highly established Caribbean island resort," commented
Rosewood President, Jim Brown.
Antigua and Barbuda's High Commissioner in London, Sir Ronald
Sanders said, "We are delighted that one of Antigua's leading
properties will be managed by this highly prestigious management
company and we anticipate that Jumby Bay will soon be reaching
new heights of excellence."
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