ISSUE NO.83 November 2003
you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from High
Commissioner and Staff
rules in favour of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda has scored a moral victory in the cross border
gaming dispute matter being heard by a panel at the World Trade
The WTO panel investigating the complaint by Antigua and Barbuda
against the United States rejected a request from the US for preliminary
rulings on the matter.
A press release issued by the country's permanent delegation
to the WTO, led by Sir Ronald Sanders, said that the US had asked
the panel to dismiss Antigua and Barbuda's claims on procedural
“The proceeding will now follow its normal course with the United
States having to present is full defence on the matter,” the release
According to Sir Ronald, “Some may have had doubts about the
possibility of a small developing country participating in a WTO
dispute settlement case on an equal footing with a major economic
power such as the United States. The panel's ruling, however, shows
that all WTO members are indeed equal before the law.”
Since July this year, Antigua and Barbuda has had a matter before
the WTO, in response to efforts by the United States to outlaw
the provision of gaming and betting services into the US from other
countries. Antigua and Barbuda asserts that this is a violation
of US commitments in the WTO.
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Minister Lester Bird attends Ninth Special
Meeting of CARICOM Heads
Antigua and Barbuda’s
delegation to the Ninth Special Meeting of CARICOM Heads –
front l to r: Prime minister Lester Bird and Sir Ronald Sanders (back)
HE Colin Murdoch
Prime Minister Lester Bird led Antigua and Barbuda's delegation
to the Ninth (9th) Special Meeting of the Conference of the Heads
of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 13th and
The meeting included preparation for the 15th Inter-sessional
Meeting in February of 2004 in Antigua where Mr. Bird will take
over Chairmanship of CARICOM.
During the two-day meeting, the Heads received an update on the establishment
of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). They discussed Caribbean/USA relations
and the recent Breakfast Meeting between four CARICOM Prime Ministers and President
George Bush. They also talked about the Special Summit of the Americas due
to be held in January of 2004 in Mexico, CARICOM/European Relations, and the
Cricket World Cup 2007.
Prime Minister Bird was accompanied to the meeting by Antigua and Barbuda's
Chief Foreign Affairs Representative with Ministerial Rank Sir Ronald Sanders,
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Mr. Colin
Murdoch, and Senior Economist in the Ministry of Trade, Mr Elliott Paige.
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will loan Antigua and Barbuda US$2.25million for the creation
of a new cricket stadium
Earlier this year, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and
China had agreed on an overall aid package of US$10 million. US$3.7
million had been allocated to the renovation of the Antigua Recreation
Ground. However the government has decided that the country needs
a new stadium if it wants to host matches during the 2007 Cricket
World Cup. The Prime Minister recently explained that while the
West Indies is applying to host the 2007 World Cup, each country
must submit an individual bid.
Therefore, the government requested that an additional US$2.5
million of the Chinese aid package be allocated to the construction
of a brand new stadium in order to support Antigua’ bid as a host
country. The request was approved by China.
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Cricket World Cup Bid
Cabinet has confirmed the members of the Bid Development
Steering Committee and the Bid Development Unit for the Cricket
2007 world Cup.
Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee, Molwyn Joseph, said the
function of the Bid Committee is to formalize the country's bid
for World Cup 2007. The bid document will arrive by the end of
November and each potential host country will shape their bid based
on the capacity of their stadium and supporting infrastructure.
The other members of the Committee are: Sports Minister Guy Yearwood
as the other co-chair, Clarvis Joseph, Enoch Lewis and Andrew Michelin.
The purpose of the Bid Development Unit, is to prepare the bid
and fill out the bid document. Bids are due in by next February
and the results will be out by June 2004.
The Bid Development Unit is chaired by George Goodwin, and the
Deputy Chairman is Don Charles. The other members are B.T Lewis,
Gregory Shillingford, Andy Roberts, Ted Issac, Nathan Dundas, Assistant
Commissioner James Hill, Hyram Ford, Clement Bird and Lorraine
If the bid is successfully negotiated, these committee come to
an end and a long-term organisation will be created to implement
the programme up to 2007.
However, the Antigua Cricket Association is questioning its participation
in the bid process.
First Vice President of the Antigua Cricket Association (ACA),
John Maginley, noted the only person on the bid development unit
from the ACA was Hyram Ford, but that he was not appointed by the
Association to be on the Committee.
"For the bid committee, the ACA should be involved in any
of the decision reached in terms of cricket. Hyram Ford is acting
in his own capacity, though he is fully capable, but he was not
appointed by the ACA. We need to get this right," he stressed.
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Honoured with National Awards
Dame Yvonne Maginley, DCN
Thirteen persons were honoured with National Awards as Antigua
and Barbuda celebrated its 22nd Anniversary of Independence. Governor
General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir. James B. Carlisle GCMG, GCQS,
conferred awards on the following persons:
Dame Commander of the Most
Distinguished Order of the Nation – DCN
Miss Yvonne Maginley - for Public Service
Grand Cross of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – GCM
Miss Ineta Wallace - for Services to Nursing
Mr. Hugh Bailey - for Services to Sailing
Grand Officer of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – GOM
Paul Paddy Winter - For Services to Bodybuilding
McAlister Abbott - for Services to Banking
Commander of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – CM
Llwellyn Smith - for Services to Parliament and Port Authority
Officer of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – OM
William Phillip (Posthumously) - For Community Service
Member of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – OM
Stephen Joseph for Service to Business and Community
Ludwig Reynolds for Civic Awareness
Bill Abbott - for Public Service
Grand Cross of the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage – GCH
Rupert Philo - for Services to Calypso Music
Grand Officer of the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage – GOH
Vincent Freeland for Services to Steelband Music
Officer of the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage – OH
Ickford Benjamin (Posthumously) - for Services to Bodybuilding, Weightlifting
Governor General Sir James Carlisle also knighted three individuals. They are:
Sir. Conrad Swan - For Contributions to the country’s National Honours System
Sir. Leroy McClin Emmanuel - For Services to Calypso Music
Sir Eustace Bernard Francis - For Services to Business and the Community.
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Antiguans and Barbudans
in London celebrate 22 years of Independence
Antigua and Barbuda National Association
Choir - London
In the United Kingdom, over two hundred Antiguans
and Barbudans gathered on Sunday November 2nd at The Church of
St Marks’ in London’s Dalston district to celebrate twenty-two
years of Antigua and Barbuda’s independence.
The gathering heard Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to
the UK, Sir Ronald Sanders, identify a 24-year old Private in the
nation’s Defence Force as epitomising the “independence generation
of Antiguans and Barbudans”.
Sir Ronald said he had met Keithroy Titus two weeks before, during the Caribbean
Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Ministerial meeting in Antigua. Noting
that Titus was “very bright and very confident, and had twice graduated from
gruelling Caribbean-wide courses at the top of his class,” Sanders said, “Titus
is an Antiguan of the Independence generation. For him there are no limits
to his ambition, no fear that there is a point beyond which he can not rise,
no concern that a colonial government in a distant country could stunt his
Sir Ronald told the packed Church that Titus’ paternal grandparents came from
Liberta and he described the symbolic importance of the village to Antigua
and Barbuda’s independence. The London-based diplomat said, “Land in the village
were the first property owned by former slaves after emancipation in 1834.
This event marked not only the occasion of their own personal freedom, but
also their right to own assets. It was both the point of the liberation of
former slaves from bondage, and the beginning of their economic empowerment”.
Noting that, in his message to the people of Antigua on Saturday,
November 1st, the 22nd anniversary of Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence,
Prime Minister Lester Bird had announced initiatives to grant lots
to squatters in the Gray’s Farm/Green Bay area and in the Point
area, as well as 99-year leasehold to farmers, Sanders said, “These
initiatives will continue the empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable
in Antigua and Barbuda that started in 1834 in Keithroy Titus’ family
village of Liberta.”
Sir Ronald also thanked the Antigua and Barbuda community in the United Kingdom “for
keeping the candle of love for your native land burning brightly in your hearts”.
He told the audience, “Let me thank you for the efforts you make on Antigua
and Barbuda’s behalf, let me thank you for maintaining your deep commitment
to Antigua and Barbuda’s future. You, too, deserve recognition for your contribution
to 22 years of Independence.”
The service was arranged by the Antigua and Barbuda National
Association (London) and was attended by the Mayor of Walthamstow.
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Minister Bird appoints Osmund Lake as Minister to handle Airport
and Aviation matters
Lake, Junior Minister with special responsibilities for
Aviation and Tourism
On 20th November, Senator Osmund Lake received his instruments
of appointment as Junior Minister with special responsibilities
for Aviation and Tourism.
At a brief ceremony at Government House, which was attended by his father Sir
Edmund Lake and his Brother Carlton Lake, Senator Lake took the Ministerial
oath in front of Governor-General Sir James Carlisle.
As required by the constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, Lake,
resigned from his position as Director of Flight Operations at
LIAT, “Before I accepted the appointment I made closure with my
former employer LIAT with whom I had an employment relationship
for over 32 years,” he explained.
Prime Minister Lester Bird announced Senator Lake’s new appointment
on 14th November. He said, “I have decided to strengthen ministerial
responsibility for matters related to the Airport and Aviation
to ensure that services crucial to tourism and travel generally
are given full attention”.
Senator Lake will assist the substantive Minister, Mr Robin Yearwood. Mr Bird
explained, “Deputy Prime Minister Robin Yearwood is burdened by a number of
very active Ministries, including Finance, Housing and Public Utilities as
well as Aviation and the Airport. Therefore, I have appointed Senator Lake,
who has considerable experience and expertise in aviation matters to assist
the Deputy Prime Minister with the day-to-day ministerial responsibilities
for the Airport and Aviation”.
He is the ruling Antigua Labour Party (ALP) candidate in the Constituency of
St John’s Rural North.
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Antigua Hosts its First
UWI Country Conference
(l to r) – Governor-General
Sir James Carlisle, Education Minister Dr Rodney Williams,
Professor Lawrence Carringtom – Pro Vice Chancellor UWI
and Bernice Lake Q.C.
The University of the West Indies held the Antigua leg of its
Country Conferences at the Jolly Beach Resort on13th –15th November.
The three-day event is 7th in a series of conferences being held
under the theme: “Beyond Walls: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives.” The
series is aimed at strengthening the University’s presence in the
Education Minister, Dr. Rodney Williams, addressed the gathering and applauded
the efforts of the University of the West Indies for recognizing the fact that
the solutions to many of the challenges that affect our island states can actually
be found in the intellectual resources of the islands themselves.
“In the University’s programmes, every effort is made, and rightly so, to bring
attention to Caribbean issues and challenges and ways in which these challenges
can be met. I am proud to note that in addition to the three campuses, there
is a Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management in the Bahamas, an innovative distance
education facility and Schools of Continuing Studies in all of the supporting
non-campus countries to ensure that a wide cross section of the population has
access to a variety of educational resources and services,” Dr. Williams stated.
He explained that the goal of the Conference was to focus on
issues relevant to Antigua and Barbuda and presenting solutions
to prevailing challenges.
The keynote address was presented by noted Attorney and UWI Council Member,
Bernice Lake Q.C.
The Conferences are held in response to a mandate from the UWI Board for Non-Campus
Countries and Distance Education. Antigua and Barbuda is represented on this
Board by the Education Minister.
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project brings US$14 million investment
Antigua and Barbuda stands to benefit from two projects from the
government of Japan.
These are fisheries development projects in Point Wharf and in
Agriculture Minister Vere Bird Jr. and Daven Joseph travelled
to Japan recently to finalise negotiations with the Japanese. A
team from Japan will visit Antigua and Barbuda before the end of
the year to finalise the project designs.
Part of the US$14 million plan will enhance the waterfront area
in the Point area. It will be developed into a multi-functional
facility, providing for fishing, tourism and commercial related
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security system implemented at airport
Security at the V.C. Bird International Airport will be improved
to meet new international standards.
Aerodrome Superintendent, Errol George, has promised that security
effectiveness will be achieved.
George recently met Consulting Engineers Partnership, a Dominica-based
company, which has been contracted to deliver an upgraded security
Three years ago security at the V.C. Bird International Airport
was breached after an escaped prisoner, Trevor Jacobs, managed
to jump the airport security fence and attempted to stow away in
the wheel well of a BWIA airline. He was subsequently found dead
in the holding space of the wheels of the aircraft.
George explained, “We are looking to upgrade the perimeter fence
and screening mechanisms to achieve 100 per cent screening of checked
luggage. This will come into effect by November 2005.
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equipment for Mount St. John
New CRASH carts have been acquired for the Mount St. John’s Medical
The new equipment has been temporarily placed at the Holberton Hospital to
facilitate training programmes for medical staff.
The CRASH carts will be placed on all wards, and in the intensive
care unit and the casualty department at Holberton. Each cart contains
a Zoll defibrillator and pacemaker, a portable suction unit, airway
management equipment, a portable oxygen bottle and emergency medications..
The Emergency medical Services (EMS) will also receive a new Zoll model CCT
unit that has a number of capabilities including defibrillator and pacemaker,
non-invasive blood pressure reading, oxygen saturation levels and full electro-cardiogram
(EKG) with analysis and interpretation.
The emergency CCT unit will be connected to a cellular telephone. It will be
able to transmit a patient’s results to a doctor on call so that prompt evaluation
of the patient can be made. The doctor can then give instructions to the EMS
personnel attending the patient.
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of Agriculture to collect outstanding land payments
The Ministry of Agriculture has launched a drive to collect
outstanding payments from persons who have entered into financial
contracts for lands with the Lands Division.
Chief Lands Officer George Duberry said that some people have defaulted on
their land payment for years and have not contacted the Lands Division to explain
their situation. He appealed to defaulters to visit his office to make proper
arrangements to have arrears cleared. He explained that his office is willing
to work with persons who need to pursue new financial arrangements including
The Division has had problems with defaulters over the past three
years. While letters have been sent out to land holders in arrears,
few have responded.
These people may now run the risk of having their lands confiscated
and reallocated to others.
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A local organisation
takes government to court
The Antigua and Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion Corporation
(ABITPC) has filed a claim in the High Court against the Attorney-General
of Antigua and Barbuda.
The complaint is against the government approval of a licence
to the Dolphin Fantaseas Company for the capture of dolphins. The
application was recently filed against the AG, as a representative
of the government, for issuing the licence to John Mezzanotte,
owner of Dolphin Fantaseas, a foreign-based company located at
Prior to the legal action, ABITPC’s lawyer, John Fuller delivered
an official letter to Prime Minister Lester Bird with regard to
the permission granted by the government to capture 12 wild dolphins
According to the ABITPC, there were no dolphin population studies
and impact assessments done before the granting of the license.
Public Relations Officer for ABITPC, Martha Watkins Gilkes, said, “this
legal action is being taken not just because the poor dolphins
are being captured but because also of the environmental damage
this could do to our marine environment and also the possible damage
it could do to our tourism product with massive protests from environmentalists
across the world.”
Fuller said, “Under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered
Species (CITES), a treaty which our government has ratified, dolphins
are listed or annexed to, which means that there can be international
trade in them. But there are certain provisions which must take
place before trade is made and those provisions include technical
provisions requiring certificates of origin, certificates that
they are not taken from stocks which are depleted or endangered
or threatened, certificates for the importing country that will
be certain standards regarding their holding.”
“Those certificates are very important and they are mandatory
requirements under CITES for dolphins to be traded, and those mandatory
requirements have not been met with regard to Dolphin Fantaseas's
dolphins that have been imported in this country. They have not
been met by the authorities in this country,” Fuller added.
He added “it's going to be an uphill battle, but my clients feel
that they have to take this action."
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of Antigua Electoral Commission approves voters’ list
The chairman of Antigua and Barbuda’s Electoral Commission, McClin
Matthias, has given the country’s new voters’ list his signature
Matthias signed the electoral register for the 17 constituencies,
declaring it an “historic moment” for the country.
The electoral list has been updated for the first time in 28
years following a re-registration exercise last July.
The list contains the names of 42,461 electors comprising Antiguans
and Barbudan nationals and non-nationals resident in Antigua.
But the Commission said it discovered 100 persons whom it accused of deliberately
attempting to register in the wrong constituency, and seven others who doubled
registered. Legal action will be brought against these persons.
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ALP prepares for General
The ruling Antigua Labour Party (ALP) has begun preparations
for the next general elections.
According to an ALP spokesman, the party began oiling its election machinery
several weeks ago with a number of political meetings held by the Solidarity
Platform, a preparatory group of party faithful.
The party's executive held a meeting at the Headquarters of the Antigua Trades
and Labour Union (AT&LU) to plan the way forward as the party prepares
for the next general election.
In addressing the packed hall of party supporters and well wishers, the ALP's
political leader, Lester B. Bird, called upon the supporters to get ready to
do battle with the Opposition.
"Don't be afraid of them.... stand up to them..... we will win the next
election," he told the cheering crowd.
A number of the party's new candidates including Arthur Nibbs
from Barbuda also spoke at the meeting.
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wants civil society to take action against Government
Baldwin spencer, Leader of the Opposition
Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer has called on civil society “to
engage in collective action” to remove the Lester Bird administration
from power in Antigua and Barbuda.
In one of his weekly radio addresses, Spencer, the leader of
the United Progressive Party (UPP) said that the Bird administration
had brought the island into ridicule and disrepute, amid allegations
“Civil society must now engage in collective action to strip
Lester Bird of the power to use the resources of the State to perpetuate
his personal power, which is the only thing that is important to
him,” Spencer told his audience.
“It is time for civil society to stop the rape of every value
that we cherish and every asset that our nation and our people
can still claim as our own,” Spencer said.
“It would be Antigua and Barbuda's finest hour if all good and
decent persons who live in these two islands would come together
now to immediately remove the evil men who stalk and rule and rape
this land,” he added.
Spencer said that for the “vast majority of the people of Antigua
and Barbuda” the new decade of the 21st century “has brought little
but disastrous new depths, rapidly diminishing prospects and increasingly
He accused the government of “increasingly debasing, disgracing,
and devaluing Antigua and Barbuda in the eyes of the world”, adding "even
as we tell ourselves that they could do no worse, they shock us
into the recognition that they have an unlimited propensity to
be weapons of mass destruction with devastating effect on our economy
and of the spirit and lives of the Antiguan and Barbudan people.”
The opposition politician took a swipe at the land swap deal
involving the government and the Texas-based billionaire Allen
Stanford, despite denials by the Ministers involved in the transaction
that they had broken any law.
“Even a society accustomed to the excesses of the Bird dynasty
is finding the latest Antigua Labour Party (ALP) scandal difficult
to swallow. This time, the public outrage is not muted,” Spencer
“Only their immediate dismissal and the Prime Minister's resignation will save
all three from having to face a court in this land to account for their ill-gotten
gains in this matter,” he added.
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R. Allen Stanford speaks
out on bribery allegations
R. Allen Stanford
during the press
briefing (background charts of his contributions
to the economy of Antigua and Barbuda and
“When the elected Leader of the Opposition accuses me of bribing
two ministers of government for personal financial gains I must
speak out. This has touched the very raw nerve of my body," said
Texan billionaire R. Allen Stanford as he defended his decision
to donate EC$100, 000 each to the constituency branches of ALP
Parliamentarians Gaston Browne and Molwyn Joseph.
During a press briefing on the 27th November, Mr. Stanford said
that normally he would not comment on such allegations, but considering
the direction in which the accusations of bribery are coming from
he felt he had to speak out.
“These people (the opposition), their sole purpose is to stir
up conflict which cause further conflict which is not in the best
interest of the country. I have never in my life bribed or done
anything illegal or unethical in my business endeavours, much less
so in Antigua, and I will not and have not associated myself with
people of that character,” Mr. Stanford remarked.
Mr Stanford expressed confidence in the two ministers. “I have
known these gentlemen for a very long time. Both of these gentlemen,
I have great confidence in and I have the same trust and value
that I hope they have in me. I respect their ability, their honesty,
their work ethics and their commitment to the people of Antigua
and Barbuda because they love this country just as I do,” he added.
The Texan financier said that the money that he personally gave
to the two ministers (EC$100,000 each) has nothing to do with a
bribe or a land swap. He said it had to do with simply helping
the people of Antigua and Barbuda. The Opposition is accusing both
ministers of accepting the money for negotiating a land swap in
downtown St. John's between the government and Mr. Stanford. Both
ministers have denied that they were negotiating any deal with
the financier and have stated that the money is for constituency
development and not personal gain.
It was also disclosed that the Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer
held discussions with Mr. Stanford last summer and requested a
sizeable contribution to support his quest for power. Mr. Stanford
was unwilling to disclose the figure, but Planning Minister Gaston
Browne estimated it to be US$2 million.
During the Press Conference Mr. Stanford surprised the audience
by donating a further EC$200,000 towards the to Team City West
and St. Mary's North Constituency Branches
He explained that while he was not angry, “This has touched the
very raw nerve of my body, but I have very thick skin. I am going
to continue supporting charitable causes for the better lives of
the people of this country.”
Mr Stanford said that he is very proud of everything he has done
in the country. “Where others have talked and made idle promises,
I have delivered. I have invested in this country,” he said passionately.
Mr. Stanford also made public a list of the donations he has
made in Antigua and Barbuda this year. These include contributions
to the West Indies Cricket Board, the Carnival Development Committee,
Her Majesty's Prison, the Christ the King High School, Sailing
Week and the Commissioner of Police. Total donations for the year
amount to EC$4,064,942.81.
He disclosed that for 2003 he has invested EC$249,642,000 in
the economy of Antigua and Barbuda, including salaries to employees,
projects under the Stanford Development Company, and payments to
sub-contractors for Antigua-based projects.
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PM upbeat over opinion poll
Prime Minister Lester Bird says he is "upbeat" over
the results of the Ron Lester opinion poll which suggests that
the ruling Antigua Labour Party will win at least 12 seats in the
next general elections.
Mr. Bird scoffed at those who suggested that Ron Lester was mere
fiction, noting that the pollster is well known and has conducted
polls in the USA for Al Gore and the Democratic Party. He has done
polls in Jamaica and he is now doing one in St. Kitts.
I remain very positive and upbeat about the poll because it points
out clearly that the majority of the people in the country feel
that the country is on an upswing because of the many projects
we have done to lift the economy..."
The poll indicated that 50 percent of the country supports Mr. Bird while 31
percent support Minority Leader Baldwin Spencer. There were 19 percent who
were listed as undecided.
Some 1,158 persons were quizzed in the poll.
Mr. Bird noted that, the poll was conducted back in July of this
year and that the recent cash flow problem, which resulted in the
late payment of salaries to public servants, may have affected
the population negatively. As a result of this the party is considering
commissioning another poll to look at the situation between July
and now. He however, remains confident that the Antigua Labour
Party will be returned to office at the next general election,
which is constitutionally due in March 2004.
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voter registration soon
On the 25th November, Chief Registration Officer, Lorna Simon,
announced that the Electoral Commission will begin the process
of continuous registration before the end of the year.
She added that the exercise will be completed to give "sufficient
time for the completion of the process of claims and objections
and appeals' so the Elections Office can accommodate everyone desirous
of having their names on the electoral list.”
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and Barbuda to strengthen ties with Colombia
with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Antigua and Barbuda and Colombia are exploring ways to strengthen
trade, investment, and employment opportunities between the two
The Colombian Commissioner for Trade with the Caribbean, Mr Carlos
Gonzalez, visited Antigua on the 27th and 28th November, for trade
During his visit, Mr Gonzalez met public sector officials from
the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Agriculture to ascertain
the means by which trade between both countries can be facilitated.
Colombia is interested in exporting processed meats and meat
products to Antigua and Barbuda. "Under the free trade agreement
between Colombia and CARICOM, exports among the partners should
encounter no barriers," Ambassador Murdoch, from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, explained.
The Colombian negotiator also met officers from the Information
Technology Centre and the Antigua Ports Authority. He visited both
the Free Trade Zone and the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute
of Technology (ABIIT).
Mr. Gonzalez spent his second day with private sector persons
discussing the possibilities of tying Colombian exports to certain
businesses in Antigua.
"We are delighted to explore these possibilities," the
Colombian Honorary Consul to Antigua, Mrs. Brito said after the
visit, "and we will continue to work vigorously to bring Colombia
closer to this great little Caribbean country."
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Minister Lester Bird presses France for visa waiver agreement
When the new French ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. Bernard
Venzo, arrived in Antigua on 1st December to present his credentials,
Prime Minister Lester Bird called on France to conclude a visa
waiver agreement with Antigua and Barbuda, under which nationals
wishing to visit Guadeloupe for a short period would be exempt
from the requirement to have a visa.
The Prime Minister indicated that such an agreement would open
up people-to-people contact and would pave the way for closer relations
between Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe.
He also stated his hope that relations with France could move from the present
static state of affairs to a more vibrant relationship.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to raise other issues
in the bilateral relations between Antigua and Barbuda and France.
These included maritime boundary delimitation and fisheries; outstanding
debts owed to the French agency COFACE; and the position of the
Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), of which France
is a leading member, on international tax issues.
Prime Minister Bird spent some time explaining his government's
position on the OECD's harmful tax initiative, which was discussed
at a meeting of the Global Tax Forum in Ottawa in October. He stated
that Antigua and Barbuda was committed to a level playing field,
where all countries could compete internationally without the disadvantages
created by the exemptions granted to certain EU member states.
Ambassador Venzo stated that he recognized the merit of the Prime
Mnister's call for a visa waiver agreement and that he would be
taking the his message back to his Government. He called for balance
in the relationship, and stated that it would be useful for a continuing
dialogue to be established between both sides on various bilateral
Ambassador Venzo is a veteran of the French Foreign Service,
having served at various times in Egypt, Italy, Iraq and Tunisia.
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High Court rules on
Hilroy Humphreys case in Lower Court
The High Court has ordered the Magistrate’s Court not to proceed
any further with the preliminary inquiry into alleged criminal
charges against Hilroy Humphreys arising out of the Medical Benefits
Scheme Commission of Inquiry.
On 25th November Humphreys appeared before a St. John's Magistrate
and got a stay until 15 March, 2004.
His Attorney Sherfield Bowen told reporters “The High Court ordered the Magistrate
Court not to proceed any further until the constitutional motion that was filed
is heard in the High Court. The constitutional motion is to say it will be
prejudicial to the interest of Humphreys if we were to allow the criminal proceedings
to go through, because with respect to the Commission of Inquiry all the evidence
we anticipate at the Criminal proceedings were all ventilated at the Commission
of Inquiry and the entire population has been prejudiced."
"The Commission of Inquiry has even concluded that Humphreys
is guilty of criminal conduct and so having this widespread publication
of this guilt by television, by radio, by the Internet, we are
arguing in the High Court we cannot find an impartial and unbiased
jury in Antigua and Barbuda to listen to these same allegations
again and to give him a fair trial."
The constitutional motion will be heard on 3 March, 2004 in the
"The Court ruled the prosecution has no such right and that we have the
right to bring all the witnesses against Humphreys and the others (witnesses)
to come to court to stand up and give their evidence where we can cross examine
them," Bowen said.
He added the order of the court meant all the proceedings were
in fact stayed, and no criminal prosecution would be allowed to
continue until the resolution of the constitutional motion.
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Bluff Hotel among World’s Top All-Inclusive Resorts
Curtain Bluff Hotel
Antigua and Barbuda’s Curtain Bluff Hotel has been listed among
the two best all-inclusive resorts in the world.
The International Magazine, Forbes Business, in its October 16 edition listed
Curtain Bluff Resort and Wakaya Club in Fiji as the most comprehensive all-inclusive
resorts where all meals, wine and water sports are included in their vacation
Forbes Business further revealed that booking a stay at Curtain Bluff removes
much of the hassle associated with a vacation, because guests know exactly
what they will be paying for.
Curtain Bluff is located on the southern tip of Antigua sprawled
on two beaches. It has 73 rooms decorated in standard Caribbean
mode – tiled floors and wicker furniture.
Everything from wine to cigars is included in the price, as well as water-skiing,
scuba and snorkelling trips with staff providing instructions.
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Star scores major successes at World Travel Market
Award-winning Caribbean Star Airlines scored major successes
at the recently concluded World Travel Market in London.
The airline's team, headed by Chief Executive Officer and President
Paul Moreira, held discussions with leading tour operators in Europe,
North America and the Caribbean.
The team included Edward Gilkes, General Manager of Commercial
Operations, Sandra Scotland, Director of Marketing and Public relations,
and Marcia Hall, Senior Flight Attendant.
Gilkes said the talks with tour operators from Italy, and Israel
and several airlines were very positive. He said that Portuguese
airline Air Luxor, which earlier this year operated several flights
into Antigua, is considering increasing its charters to the Caribbean
The team also met marketing representatives of London-based Virgin Holidays,
who are interested in promoting the Caribbean.
Caribbean Star is already used as a feeder airline out of Antigua
to other Caribbean destinations for passengers flying out of London
on Virgin Atlantic.
The airline won “Best Inter Island Airline” award at the London Show.
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Sandals unveils US$28M
On 30th October, Chairman of Sandals Antigua Resort and Spa,
Gordon “Butch” Stewart, unveiled a US$28 million expansion programme
to a gathering which included Prime Minister Lester Bird, Deputy
Prime Minister Robin Yearwood, Tourism Minister Molwyn Joseph,
Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer, UPP's Shadow Minister of Tourism
Senator Harold Lovell, travel agents, foreign press and the local
In his address Mr Stewart said "I think we have a really
good democracy in Antigua and Barbuda. We are particularly happy
that the government has been reviewing its policies and making
it more investor-friendly.
"If tourism is really the engine of growth for the Caribbean....
then the various countries that make up the Caribbean, if they
don’t really get smart and start doing things such as encouraging
investors and in turn encourage growth, which in turn encourages
employment and opportunity for its citizens, then we are going
to be behind the eight ball," Stewart said.
Whilst acknowledging the welcome competition from the cruise
ships, Stewart noted emphatically that "at the end of the
day it will be your hotels that are going to provide revenue for
the country, that are going to employ the people, that are going
to offer the opportunities for purchasing the goods and services.”
He announced Sandals’ hope to break ground early in 2004. The
expansion will involve a Mediterranean Village with 114 rooms including
90 junior suites, 10 executive suites and 14 plunge pool suites
as well as a 15,000 square foot pool complete with the Sandals
signature swim up pool bar and Jacuzzi.
A new Italian restaurant will also be constructed and a brand
new Cricketers pub in addition to retail space for a craft shop,
gift store and jewellery store.
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Antigua beach voted
No. 1 in the Caribbean
Dickenson Bay in Antigua has been rated the best beach in the
Caribbean by the Sunday Mirror Newspaper in the United Kingdom.
On the day before the world’s largest tourism exhibition in London opened in
London today, the Sunday Mirror, with a readership of tens of millions of people,
ranked Dickenson Bay in Antigua with five stars as against four and three stars
from beaches in Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic.
The newspaper ranked Dickenson Bay as number one, against Negril
in Jamaica, Reduit in St Lucia, Playa Dorada in the Dominican Republic
and Carlisle Bay in Barbados.
Experts from the University of Glamorgan were commissioned by the newspaper
who asked 1,000 Britons what they wanted for a seaside holiday. The Sunday
Mirror reported, “They said the beach should be safe, have dramatic scenery,
no huge tides, no litter and clear sparkling water”.
According to the Sunday Mirror report, the newspaper then added some criteria
of its own. These included: family-friendly beach bars, lots of shade and safe
On this basis, the Newspaper combed the Caribbean and came up with five top
Caribbean beaches. They then rated Dickenson Bay in Antigua as the best giving
it five stars.
Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to London, Sir Ronald Sanders, commented, “This
is great news for Antigua as World Travel Market opens in London today with
literally thousands of travel agents from all over Europe in attendance. The
newspaper rating will certainly boost interest in Antigua and Barbuda as a
The Antigua office in London has run a successful advertising campaign on Jazz
FM Radio in London and the South-East of England as well as in selected newspapers.
“We ran the campaign in the run-up to the World Travel Market
to imprint Antigua on the minds of the millions of potential tourists
who will visit the Exhibition. The Sunday Mirror has topped this
off nicely”, Sir Ronald said.
Over this winter period there will be 16 flights per week into Antigua directly
from London brining over 3,500 tourists every week. This is the greatest number
of direct flights into Antigua from any country in the history of the Island’s
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James' Club voted best family hotel 2003
St James club
St. James' Club situated at Mamora Bay has been voted as the best
Family Hotel 2003 by Virgin Holidays.
General Manager Saskya Carrusco credits this latest achievement
largely to the efforts of her staff.
"On 9 September, Virgin Holidays held a party for all their
clients and suppliers at the World Travel Market in London and
they were handing out prizes for all the properties that are in
their catalogue and we were awarded this prize as their Best Family
Resort 2003 worldwide," Carrusco said.
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to Tourism Development Corporation Act approved
Tourism Minister Molwyn Joseph
A company to promote and seek future investments for Antigua and
Barbuda’s vital tourism industry will soon become operational after
amendments to refine the Tourism Development Corporation Act were
approved by the House of Representatives on 1st December.
The TDC, which was first passed in 1997 will become “the vehicle
to take tourism into the future”, said Tourism Minister, Molwyn
Joseph, who piloted the amendments in Parliament.
It will be run by a board comprising three members from the Antigua
Hotels and Tourist Association (AH&TA) and one person each
appointed by the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
taxi drivers, vendors, the airlines associations and the Ministry
of Tourism, plus two individuals with experience in the sector.
An executive officer, along with staff, will manage the day to
day affairs of the TDC, which will be funded by the two per cent
guest levy and other sources of revenue in which the private sector
is expected to play a role.
The amendments to the substantive Bill came out of a symposium
involving tourism industry stakeholders held earlier this year.
“We are now fulfilling the commitment that was made by the government
after the conclusion of the consultations,” Joseph said.
He said the governments’ US$22 million investment in the dredging
and expansion of the Heritage Quay pier has proven to be correct,
because the country is now considered a marquee destination by
He said the upcoming winter season would bring an increase in
aircraft traffic from London with British Airways landing seven
to ten flights weekly; Virgin Atlantic three; and BWIA two; while
Air Jamaica will have four non-stop flights from New York.
“This increase in business is a result of the hard work and dedication
of the government,” said Joseph while praising the effort of the
High Commission in London and the New York Tourist Office.
He said the airport expansion project is expected to begin within
45 days, to accommodate the influx of passengers who will be going
to Antigua in the near future.
The minister said the recently commissioned Hospitality Training
Institute at Dutchman’s Bay will assist with the training of taxi
drivers and vendors, who he said have an integral role to play
Joseph said a resource centre for small hotel operators would also be set up
at the Institute.
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New Antiguan rums
the focus at the Premier Trade show
Antiguan rums were in the spotlight yesterday as Premier Beverages
hosted its second trade show at the Rex Halcyon Cove Hotel on 5th
Representatives of Premier Beverages Limited and Antigua Distillery
Limited launched several new products and initiatives, including
the new English Harbour five -year old.
"This is one of the new upgrades to our rum line," Managing
Director Premier Beverages Limited, Anthony Bento said. "We
are very excited about this product. It has been in existence for
two years primarily in international markets."
Sales and Marketing Manager of Antigua Distillery Limited, Sharon
Green also announced the company's alliances with YAO Ice Cream
and Dolcie's Antigua Rum Cake. YAO uses Cavalier Rum in their new
rum and raisin ice cream, while the rum cake is made with Cavalier
In addition to successfully moving into the Canadian and Italian
markets and several of their rum products receiving awards at the
2002 International Rum Festival, Bento said the company was one
of the few companies in Antigua and Barbuda that had achieved Hazard
Analysis Critical Control Point Certification.
"This brings us to a high international standard, which
will be required in years to come if we are going to be export
ready," he said.
and Barbuda Stall at the Commonwealth Fair -
selling rum punch, coconut fudge, fried plantain, saltfish balls, Dunlabs
guava jelly, pineapple jam and pepper sauce, English Harbour Rum, handmade
dolls, pottery and more.
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