ISSUE NO.69 September 2002
Rawlins receives British Chevening Scholarship
former student of the Antigua Grammar School, Marlon Rawlins,
is the recipient of the 2002 prestigious British Chevening Scholarship
for Antigua and Barbuda.
Marlon Rawlins who holds a BSc Degree in Economics and Accounting
from the University of the West Indies, has been employed by the
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in St. Kitts as a Specialist
He will pursue studies for an MBA in International Banking and
Finance at the University of Birmingham, England.
The British Chevening Scholarship Scheme provides awards covering
one year’s postgraduate study in the United Kingdom to nationals
of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and
Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The awards cover fees, airfare to and from the Eastern Caribbean
and a monthly stipend.
Successful candidates are expected to return to the region, to
ensure their country benefits from their experience.
Marlon Rawlins is the son of Radcliffe and Generis Rawlins of
St. Johnston’s Village.
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school student receives V.C. Bird/Port Authority Award
Isola Browne, a student from St. John’s Catholic Primary School,
is the third recipient of the V.C. Bird/Antigua Port Authority
The Award was established in honour of late Prime Minister, Sir
Vere Cornwall Bird – Antigua and Barbuda’s first national hero – in
recognition of his contribution towards the provision of secondary
school education and the creation of the Antigua Port Authority.
This annual scholarship is awarded to primary school students who excel in
the Common Entrance examination. It provides assistance towards their secondary
education. Isola now attends the Antigua Girls’ High School.
The award is valued at $5,000 and will be paid in annual installments
of a $1,000.
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award for SUN Newspaper carrier
Damien DeSilva of Baxter Street, Ottos, has been awarded a $4,000
scholarship from Sun Printing & Publishing Ltd.
He received the award for being the first student newspaper carrier
to complete four years of unbroken service, delivering the Antigua
Sun and Sun Weekend from house to house.
The 19-year-old started delivering the Sun when he was a student
at the Antigua Grammar School, where he gained seven CXE passes
in English, Geography, History, French, Spanish, English Literature
He later attended the Antigua State College where he received “A” level
results in Geography, Politics, Law and General Paper.
Damien, will pursue studies in Business Management and Public
Relations at State University of New York.
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UPP’s Redemption March
On 5th September, the opposition UPP organised a protest march, against the
government through the streets of St John’s.
Government supporters also took to the streets in a show of solidarity
for the present administration.
The attendance of the media and a helicopter added to the drama of the day.
However a strong police presence ensured that the march remained peaceful.
In a speech to those gathered, Opposition Leader, Baldwin Spencer,
called on the Prime Minister to indicate within 48 hours if he
would be willing to demit office and call a general election.
Mr Spencer also said that he would “lock down” the country if
he did not get a clear indication within 7 days that the Prime
Minister would resign.
He called on the church, and all civic organisations to respond
to the wishes of the people if not, it means that we will be in
a stage of chaos and confusion.
Spencer also issued several other ultimatums to Prime Minister
• “Lester Bird and his government within 48 hours must declare
to the people of Antigua and Barbuda that they intend to go to
Parliament and pass legislation with respect to the Prevention
from Corruption and also Integrity Legislation.
• In addition he must declare his intention within 48 hours to
immediately mount an international audit into all government statutory
• We must demand the immediate resignation from the Parliament
of Antigua and Barbuda of Hilroy Humphreys and Bernard Percival.
They can no longer walk the halls of Parliament and claim to be
honourable when the commission (into the operations of the Medical
Benefits Scheme) clearly shows that they are dishonourable men.“
Spencer disclosed that he had forwarded a copy of the report of the Royal Commission
of Inquiry into the MBS to the CARICOM Heads, and has also written to the opposition
leaders in Dominica, Jamaica and Guyana.
He demanded the installation of an interim administration as a caretaker government
while arrangements are made for free and fair general elections to be held
as soon as possible.
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will not intervene - Murdoch
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colin
Murdoch, ruled out any possibility that CARICOM Heads of Government
would intervene in Antigua and Barbuda’s domestic affairs.
Murdoch’s comments came on the heels of a letter sent to each
CARICOM member-state by Opposition leader Baldwin Spencer, asking
for an immediate intervention by CARICOM “to prevent an imminent
social disruption and economic collapse in Antigua and Barbuda.
Murdoch explained, “CARICOM has a tradition of not interfering
in the internal affairs of member states. What is happening in
Antigua and Barbuda is democracy at work.”
“There are different political activities going on in all the
member states, unless there is an absolute crisis and a break down
of the political process and of law and order it is very unlikely
that CARICOM member-states will interfere in the internal political
affairs of any of its member-states,” he said.
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Yearwood appointed as Deputy Prime Minister
Prime Minister Lester Bird has appointed Robin
Yearwood as Deputy Prime Minister.
Fifty-six year old Yearwood has been a Member
of Parliament for 26 years, having been elected as the Representative
for St. Phillips North in 1976. He continues to hold this seat.
He was appointed as a Minister in 1980 and has
seen unbroken service in the Cabinet. He has acted several times
as Prime Minister when Mr. Bird has been out of the country.
The Prime Minister said, “I have appointed Robin
Yearwood as Deputy Prime Minister because I am embarking on a reorganisation
of the Antigua Labour Party and I am focussing greater attention
on the performance of Ministers. In this connection, Deputy Prime
Minister Yearwood will assist me in both these tasks.”
In addition to his duties as Deputy Prime Minister,
Mr. Yearwood will continue to hold his present portfolios as Minister
responsible for the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, Housing,
Transportation and Aviation.
Mr Bird explained, “The time has come to galvanize
the Labour Party into the considerable political machinery for
which it is well-known. We have sat back long enough allowing a
campaign of abuse against us by an inept political opposition.
That period is now over,” Mr. Bird declared.
The Prime Minister continued, “With regard to
the Government, I am determined that there should be greater efficiency
and accountability by all Ministers delivering quality service
to the community in all areas domestic, regional and international.
This will require heightened supervision of all activities in which
the Government is involved. Deputy Prime Minister Yearwood will
assist me in this supervision.”
“I expect better governance by the Cabinet and
a greater presence by the Antigua Labour Party in the affairs of
the country for the benefit of all the people of Antigua and Barbuda,
Mr. Bird concluded.
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Minister Bird calls for the removal of Bruce Goodwin from the
On 12th September 2002, Prime Minister Lester Bird wrote to Governor
General Sir. James Carlisle asking him to remove Deputy Chairman
of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Bruce Goodwin, from the Commission.
The Prime Minister called for the establishment of a Tribunal to investigate
Mr. Goodwin’s actions, in accordance with the Electoral Commission Act, which
requires members of the Commission to be impartial.
Mr. Goodwin has made numerous calls for the removal of the government.
In the 12 September edition of the Daily Observer Newspaper,
Mr. Goodwin said it was his "duty to call upon the people
to involve themselves in every aspect of civil disobedience" to
force the removal of the Bird Administration.
In his letter to the Governor-General the Prime Minister stated, “Prior to
and consistently after his appointment as a member and Deputy Chairman of the
Electoral Commission, Mr. Goodwin has made it abundantly clear in public utterances
that have been broadcast and published that he is devoted to the removal of
my government from office and committed to forcing my resignation as Prime
Minister without regard to the requirements of the Constitution of Antigua
The Prime Minister also wrote, “Persons serving on the Electoral
Commission are required to be persons of integrity, which implies
in democratic societies that they should be impartial and objective
in order to ensure fairness to all parties contesting an Election.
Mr. Goodwin's consistent pubic utterances demonstrate that he is
incapable of such impartiality and objectivity in relation to my
party and to me as its leader. It is tantamount to misbehaviour.
In the circumstances he will prejudice and compromise the requirements under
subsection 6 (4) of the Act that "the Commission shall, in the exercise
of its functions, act impartially and independently."
The Governor-General has responded to the Prime Minister’s request
by initiating the formation of an investigative tribunal. In a
letter to the Prime minister, on the 19th September, the Governor-General
announced that, in accordance with the representation of the People
(Amendment) Act, 2001 “I have asked the Chief Justice to select
three eligible persons to be appointed as members of the tribunal.”
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at international dressage
Twenty–four year old equestrian, Emily Ward of Seatons, recently
represented Antigua and Barbuda at an International Dressage Competition.
The show was held in the world-famous Hickstead venue in southeast
Ward, who has been riding and racing horses in Antigua and regionally
since the age of 4, competed against some of the world’s best riders
and their horses.
“I was very proud and honoured to represent Antigua. On the day
I was quite nervous because it was a very big show with lots of
public spectators and it was the first time at the level. If it
wasn’t for the hard work of the Antigua Horse Society and Norma
Prudhon, I would not have had this opportunity,” she said.
Although Ward did not win any prizes she made a respectable appearance
at the Prix St. George level on her Dutch-bred stallion, Milan.
Ward and Milan have been training together for two years and Ward’s
long-term goal is to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics.
“But, that will take a few more years of hard work and some serious
sponsorship,” she said.
Ward has been living in Holland for the last 5 years. She manages
a training and livery stable where she sells horses and trains
them for competition. Her spare time is spent training and working
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conducts Evaluation of Antigua and Barbuda
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CTATF) has conducted
an evaluation of Antigua and Barbuda’s anti-money laundering framework.
The decision to conduct the evaluation of Antigua and Barbuda
at this time was taken three years ago by the Council of the CTATF.
Antigua and Barbuda is one of the several Caribbean jurisdictions
being evaluated this year.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Chief Foreign Affairs Representative, Sir
Ronald Sanders, welcomed the CTATF team saying that “Antigua and
Barbuda is very proud of the significant strides it has made since
the last CTATF evaluation in 1998.”
Sir Ronald, who is the country’s lead negotiator on international
financial services, pointed out that Antigua and Barbuda was found
by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to be “fully
cooperative in the fight against money laundering and never appeared
on its blacklist.”
He said, “No system to fight money laundering is perfect.” “Evidence
of this,” he said, “is the very large sums of money laundered every
year in countries such as the US and the UK despite their sophisticated
regulation. But, in Antigua and Barbuda’s case, there is no doubt
about our resolve to curb money laundering and there is no gainsaying
the fact that we have created the legislative framework and are
implementing strong anti-money laundering measures.”
Sir Ronald welcomed the CTATF evaluation, saying, “It can only
help to improve and strengthen the machinery Antigua and Barbuda
already has in place.”
The CFATF Deputy Director, Mr Antonio Hyman-Bouchereau noted
the open and transparent manner in which the government had welcomed
the evaluation. He said his team was impressed by the considerable
resource that the Antigua and Barbuda government has devoted to
both regulation of the financial services sector and the enforcement
of its money-launder regime.
While in Antigua, the team held lengthy meetings with a team
from ONDCP led by its Director Mr Wrenford Ferrance and with representatives
of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, including Attorney-General Mrs
Getel Thom and Solicitor-General Lebrecht Hesse.
The CTATF group also talked with senior representatives of the
Financial Sector Regulatory Commission, the Police, the Defence
Force, Customs and the Finance Ministry.
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and Barbuda elected to PAHO board
Antigua and Barbuda has been elected to serve as the Vice President
of the Pan American Health Organisation’s (PAHO) 26th Annual Sanitary
The position will be held by Senator Sam Aymer, who currently
serves as a special advisor to the Minister of Health. He is a
former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, a former Minister
of Health, and a former country director of several member countries
Senator Aymer said that it was an honour to be selected for the post, which
lasts for one year, until the next session.
Meanwhile, in an address to PAHO the US Secretary of Health,
Dr. Tommy Thompson, said that HIV/AIDS threatened to undermine
development in the Caribbean. He proposed an annual meeting of
PAHO in the Caribbean on this question, and increased efforts,
including more resources, to meet the AIDS challenge head-on.
Senator Aymer concurred that “It is clear that HIV/AIDS is our
sub-region’s most challenging health concern today.” He also explained
that he planned “to press PAHO to do even more for the Caribbean
and my own country.”
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to GG: Rescind tribunal decision
Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer has said that his nominee on
the Electoral Commission has done nothing wrong and need not be
investigated by a tribunal.
In a letter to Sir James Carlisle, Spencer made known his strong
objections, challenging the basis of the setting up of this investigatory
Ignoring the sections of the Act that provides for a Tribunal
to investigate whether a member should be removed for misbehaviour,
he referred Sir James to Section 4 (1) of the Representation of
the People (Amendment) Act 2001 which provides that a member of
the commission may be removed from office only for inability to
exercise the functions of his office.
“Your Excellency, any misbehaviour has to relate to Goodwin’s
exercise of the functions of his office as a commissioner. As everyone
knows the commission has not started its substantive work. How
then can Mr. Goodwin be accused of misbehaviour? When would he
have had the opportunity to misbehave?” Spencer stated.
He noted that Goodwin has constitutionally protected right to
freedom of speech. “Like any citizen Mr. Goodwin has the right
to comment or express his opinions on any issue affecting the governance
of Antigua and Barbuda.
“For an investigation to be instituted, there must be prima facie
evidence that Mr. Goodwin’s personal views has actually affected
the performance of his function as a commissioner.
“Clearly there is no evidence. There is thus no proper basis
for the setting up of this investigation. The “possibility” that
Mr Goodwin’s views will affect the exercise of his office is insufficient
under the aforesaid Act to set such an investigation in motion,” Spencer
“I, therefore, call upon you to reconsider this matter and rescind
your decision to appoint this investigatory tribunal,” Spencer
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consults with Foreign Ministers of Caribbean countries
On 16th September 2002, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
People’s Republic of China, Tang Jiaxuan, and Foreign Ministers
of eight (8) Caribbean countries including, Antigua and Barbuda’s
Foreign Affairs Minister, Lester Bird, met in New York to exchange
views. The Ministers reached a broad consensus on ways to further
develop relations between China and the Caribbean countries. International
and regional issues of mutual interest were also discussed.
As a result of this consultation China and the Caribbean countries
have agreed to work for a lasting, stable and comprehensive development
of their relations based on the principles of mutual respect for
each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression,
non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and
mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
They have agreed to strengthen their political dialogue at various
With regard to increasing trade and economic co-operation between
China and the Caribbean countries, both agreed to -
a. continue to encourage and support closer
contact between their business communities.
b. Create favourable conditions for the promotion
of two-way trade and investment.
In addition, China will continue to offer, to the extent possible,
economic assistance to the Caribbean Countries.
China and the participating Caribbean countries expressed a willingness
to further bilateral exchanges and co-operation in science, technology,
culture, education, mass media, public health and other fields.
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Finance Ministers Meeting
The 45th Annual Meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers took
place in London from 24th - 26th September.
Senator Asot Michael led Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation to
Plenary sessions were chaired by a number of Finance Officials
including Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown M.P., who facilitated
discussions on: Delivering the Monterrey Consensus; Promoting Private
Investment to the Developing Countries; Promoting the Economic
Development of Small States; and Enhancing Commonwealth Development
The Heads of Delegations, attended a ceremony to mark the opening
of the new U.K Treasury Building. The keynote address was delivered
by Mr. Allan Greenspan, Chairman of the United States Central Bank,
the Federal Reserve.
Other members of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation included
Mr. Whitfield Harris Jr., Financial Secretary, and Mr. David Matthias,
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Finance Minister addresses US Treasury Secretary and 32 Finance
Ministers in Washington, D.C.
On Friday 27th September, Senator Asot Michael addressed a Meeting
of Finance Ministers of the Western Hemisphere, at the US Treasury
Minister Michael told US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill and
the other 32 Finance Ministers from the independent countries in
the Americas and the Caribbean, that the USA must establish the
Pre- and Post-Disaster Fund, and that the World Bank must be nudged
into implementing the Catastrophic Insurance Fund for the Caribbean.
Senator Michael reminded the Treasury Secretary that last December
2001, Antigua and Barbuda signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement
with the USA. “We believe it is necessary for the USA to pay close
attention to its allies in the Western Hemisphere, especially states
in the Caribbean, that have shown a ready willingness to battle
terrorist financing by making significant sacrifices,” the Minister
He added that “I reminded the US Treasury Secretary that Antigua
and Barbuda was among the first in late September 2001 to enact
an organic law making terrorism a crime, and criminalizing any
deliberate act which makes terrorism possible.”
The Caribbean Finance Ministers all addressed varying aspects
of finance and development, including the challenge of natural
disasters, trade liberalization and the Free Trade Agreement of
the Americas, the fight against money laundering, and the problems
of financial markets.
Minister Michael was accompanied at the meeting by Antigua and
Barbuda’s Ambassador to the USA, Mr Lionel Hurst.
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‘No retrenchment’ says
Prime Minister Bird
Antigua and Barbuda’s public sector workers will not be retrenched.
Prime Minister Lester Bird made this announcement during a feature
address at the Antigua Trades & Labour Union’s annual conference
on Sunday 29th September.
While acknowledging that government might have to cut its workforce
in the future, the Prime Minister that said now is not the right
time. He suggested that consultation between the ALP government
and the private sector should take place in order to attract more
investment and businesses to the country.
Prime Minister Bird confirmed that his government had contemplated
reducing its workforce last November but had to rethink its position
after the atrocities of 11 September 2001 which adversely affected
tourism, the country’s main economic activity.
“Instead of expanding hotels and other business, everything contracted,
not only were no new jobs available, but existing jobs were lost.
It would be an uncaring and unfeeling government that would have
proceeded to dismiss public servants in such devastating conditions,” Mr.
The Prime Minister explained that “If an estimated 3,000 were sent home this
means that $32.4 million per annum will be lost to the local economy. If that
money was to leave the private sector, even more businesses will contract or
close creating even more unemployment. In very short time, the economy will
spiral downwards and the country will face economic collapse.”
“The consequences will be a further increase in drug trafficking
and drug related crimes and the creation of conditions that will
make our streets unsafe and our homes and business susceptible
According to the Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda has become
a Mecca for Caribbean citizens. It is one of only four countries
that has shown economic growth according to the Eastern Caribbean
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UPP nominates Attorney
for supervisor of elections
Opposition Leader, Baldwin Spencer, has written to the Chairman
of the Electoral Commission confirming his recommendation of Attorney
Hyacinth Richardson as a nominee for the position of Supervisor
His letter noted that “we have examined the names of nominees put forward by
the Free and Fair Election League and have concluded that from among the nominees,
I would recommend the selection of Hyacinth Richardson – Attorney at Law – to
the post of supervisor of elections.
We are satisfied that Richardson would meet with the overwhelming
approval of the citizenry, consequently, we will support the submission
of Richardson to parliament for ratification at the earliest opportunity.“
Attorney Richardson’s name is among six nominees put forward
by the Free and Fair Election League. The others include resident
tutor of the School of Continuing Studies (UWI Antigua) Dr. Ermina
Osoba, Attorney Ralph Francis, Deputy Comptroller of Customs Winston
Bailey, Agronomist George “Junie” Goodwin and former superintendent
of Her Majesty’ s Prison Eric Henry.
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Arson suspected in
Government House fire
Arson is suspected in an early morning blaze, which gutted the
interior of a building in the Government House Complex on the 25th
The blaze severely damaged the interior of the building, which
serves as the Aide-de-camp’s quarters.
The building was under renovation. It contained no furniture
in the building and no one was hurt in the blaze.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but police
are continuing investigations into the incident.
They have ruled out the possibility of it being an electrical
fire as there were no electricity wires attached to the building.
According to reports, the St John’s Fire Brigade was alerted at
4:40 a.m. by a taxi driver who came to the fire department to report
They responded with two fire vehicles and found the building
engulfed in flames, which they quickly extinguished.
Meanwhile, in response to a spate of fires that have taken place
recently, Commissioner of Police Truehart Smith issued a stern
warning to those responsible for the “unexplained, but suspicious
circumstances in which these fires have occurred.”
Indicating that there was strong evidence to suspect that the
fires were the work of arsonists, he noted, “these activities have
not only resulted in financial loss to victims, but could have
catastrophic consequences for human life, if not curtailed. This
type of behaviour is unlawful, reprehensible and intolerable”
He continued, “It is our resolve to ensure the protection of life
and property of all citizens. For these reasons, the police will
spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
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Public Library progressing well
Antigua and Barbuda will soon have a new and modern public library.
The country’s original library was destroyed by an earthquake
Work on the new building, located adjacent to the National Archives
in the vicinity of the East Bus Station, is well advanced. It covers
25,000 sq. ft and will be much larger than originally planned.
Yvonne Maginley, Head of the Public Library Building Committee,
said that more than half of the money needed to complete the facility
has been raised but were in dire need of an additional $1 million.
When completed, the library will include a children’s area, adult
room, conference centre, Internet service facilities and a lift
to accommodate special needs individuals.
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Tourism Summit at Royal Antigua Resort
A two-day Tourism Summit convened by Prime Minister Lester Bird
with stakeholders in the Industry, designed to re-energize and
re-organise the Tourism Industry in an effort to improve the country's
competitive capacity and the overall benefits to Antigua and Barbuda
concluded on the Wednesday 2nd October.
The Summit was a timely intervention to arrest the present downturn
in the industry, which affects the national economy, and the participants
agreed that the growing challenges of the tourism sector require
a more dynamic management structure with a clearly defined set
of goals and objectives.
One of the major outcomes of the Summit was the need for a Tourism
Development Corporation (TDC) to be established with a Board consisting
of representatives from all sectors of the industry. The Corporation
should function under the following specific areas: Product Development,
Finance, Marketing, Promotion and Public Relations, Research and
Planning, Training and Quality Control and Cruise Tourism Marketing
and Marine Tourism.
The other important issues that were keenly discussed over the
two days included:
and Barbuda should be positioned as a unique and distinctly appealing
tourism destination targeting the middle and upper market segments
of the industry.
• Short-term and long-term marketing strategies.
• There was consensus that the tourism product is a combination
of experiences seen by the customer. Therefore, areas such as the
superstructure, infrastructure, natural assets, the environment,
the people and culture have scope for development. Issues high
on the agenda were the diversification, upgrading, preservation
and education needed to bring the product up to the level suitable
for the target markets
• There is a need for a number of incentives to be considered
by the government, and to encourage local investment.
• The ABCTA would be the representative body for participants
in the cruise sector and would make representation to the TDC.
• Antigua and Barbuda is now uniquely positioned after major investment
in the cruise infrastructure to go directly to specialist cruise
travel agents in Miami to market Antigua and Barbuda as a marquee
• The Marine Trades Association would be the representative for
the yachting sector, and should be the representative body to the
TDC. This sector is a lucrative market segment contributing to
the economic impact of the tourism industry.
importance of the transportation sector in getting tourists to
destinations and tourist attractions was highlighted, and there
is a need for functional cooperation between regional airlines
serving the destination.
The Prime Minister formally closed the Summit saying “The excitement and enthusiasm
exuded over these 2 days have shown that the implementation of the TDC and
other associated actions will serve to put Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism back
on a healthy path. The tone and response of the participants to this Summit
has signalled a new beginning for tourism in Antigua and Barbuda.”
He also called for a mini-summit at the end of November to assess
the progress of the work agreed upon by the industry.
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learn about dolphins
In an effort to educate local students about marine mammals,
conservation and preservation, Dolphin Fantaseas has developed
a free educational programme called “Protect Your Paradise.”
“Protect Your Paradise” was introduced in February and to date
has had over a thousand students participate. The experience incorporates
a variety of games and activities that teach children about marine
mammals of the world, the resident bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin
Fantaseas and the many environmental concerns facing marine life
in our local waters.
Students are given a special tour of the grounds, where they
meet and learn about Dolphin Fantaseas’ two enchanting Euclectus
Parrots, visit the tortoises, hermit crabs, and the stingray pool
that is filled with Black and Gray Rays, starfish, crabs, and many
The highlight of the field trip is viewing a special presentation
of the three spectacular bottlenose dolphins housed in the five
and a half million gallon lagoon at Marina Bay.
During the programme students are encouraged to respect all animals
and to take an active role in conservation.
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