HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 02 August 2023 – As is the weekly custom, a priest (of the Anglican faith) delivered prayers at the start of the meeting.
It was agreed that Cabinet will take a two-week break, allowing for the next Cabinet meeting to take place on 23 August 2023
1. The Cabinet was briefed by Members of the Police high command on the circumstances involving the pursuit of a civilian that ended in the unfortunate loss of life of the said individual. Accordingly, the Cabinet has invited a spokesman, selected by the Commissioner of Police, to address the Press Corps on the matter during the Post Cabinet Press Briefing.
2. The Cabinet held extensive discussions on the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) and the attack on the program which the European Union and the U.K. seemed to have launched against the OECS states which operate CIPs. The EU has made a number of proposals (to the OECS countries operating CIP programs) that Antigua favors. For example, the EU proposes that the states return the minimum threshold to US$200,000. The minimum is now US$100,000. Secondly, to change the minimum in real estate investment to US$400,000. Antigua and Barbuda’s real estate investment amount is US$400,000. Several OECS/CIP states have expressed a lack of faith in any EU promise not to create barriers that would make their program less competitive. The EU proposal also requires submission of the names of those seeking citizenship to their police agency.
3. i) The Cabinet applauds Mr. Dwayne George for accepting the nomination to the Senate, effective Thursday 3rd of August. The New Senator will make his first appearance approximately one week later when the Senate convenes to debate two matters sent up from the Lower House.
ii) The demitting of Senator Caleb Gardiner from the Senate and his asignment to the post of a Diplomat was applauded by the Cabinet. It is anticipated that he will have the benefit of serving with a senior diplomat and also furthering his academic studies by being in Washington D.C., where several outstanding Universities have their campuses. The Cabinet is of the view that as the youngest Antigua and Barbuda diplomat ever, he has one of the greatest futures ahead of him.
4. The Cabinet noted that its announcement on the acquisition of land within the compound of the V.C. Bird Airport has been misconstrued to mean lands even on the shoreline, outside the fence at Runway 10. The Cabinet reiterates that only lands privately-held within the airport at Runway 10, subject to ABAA rules, are affected by its decision.
5. The Cabinet welcomed two lawyers from the Ministry of Legal Affairs to address an issue relating to an obligation to a security firm, which the government still owes. The lawyers confirmed that the amount owed is legitimate. Cabinet has therefore moved to ensure that security provided to more government buildings and schools are to be carried out by trained personnel from the Ministry of Works; and, monitored cameras will be installed for added security.
6. i) The Minister of the Creative Industries, under whose portfolio Carnival is included, has reported on the excitement which Carnival 2023 has generated; all shows have been well-attended. Many revelers have participated in both the opening of Carnival City and T-shirt Mas, and many more spectators have participated in the evening shows. More revelers and spectators are expected to join Monday and Tuesday Parades. From all indications, Carnival 2023 is proving to be a tremendous success.
ii) The Cabinet applauded Ishikelly Corbin, Ms. Antigua Carnival Queen 2023, for winning the Miss Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show demonstrating talent, elegance, strength of character, dramatic skills, intellect and beauty. The Cabinet applauds her for the high standards she brought to the competition, winning all 4 judged segments and 2 segments which were not judged on the night of the show.
iii) The Cabinet joined in celebrating the Antigua Island Girls who rowed the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii after 41 days at sea. Their names are being put forward for National Honours on Independence Day 2023; and, donations have been pledged to support the cause for which they rowed—specifically intended to build a group home for troubled girls. They were met at the airport with much applause and fanfare, before being driven through the streets of St. John’s in a spontaneous motorcade.
7. The Air Peace Airlines, the largest carrier in Nigeria, is in the final stage of planning its flight to Antigua on Friday 4th August, for a 4 day excursion. The precise number of visitors is still to be determined but they are likely to be fewer than 200. The flight will include 16 members of the Nigerian National Dance Theater who will participate in several events during Carnival. They all will depart on Tuesday evening for Nigeria.
8. Dr. Ruby Lake-Richards, a recent recipient of the second highest National Honour, and one of the first UWI Cohort in 1948, has died. She was a medical doctor who continued to provide for her patients up until she reached 95 years of age. She will be receiving an official funeral.
Dr. Reginald Alford Walwyn was also of that UWI cohort. He also received a National Honour in November 2021, and was given an official funeral upon his death.