HURST REPORTS ON CABINET of Wednesday 14th September 2022
The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda convened its weekly meeting at about 10:30 am and ended at about 4:30 pm, or after six hours. All members were present.
The Cabinet has directed that the Prime Minister attend the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on Monday, 19 September, 2022.The Cabinet further agreed that the day of the funeral be declared a National Holiday. The death of a serving Head of State of Antigua and Barbuda requires paying homage in the form of a National Holiday.
Since the funeral commences at 6:00 am Antigua time, all residents and citizens would be afforded the time to “attend” virtually.
The Uniform Services of Antigua and Barbuda have also decided to hold a special service of worship on the morning of Monday, 19 September, that is on the same day the Royal Funeral will be held at Westminster Abby. The service of worship and remembrance by the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB) and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine,commencing at 11:00 am. It is to be followed by a military parade and a general salute through the streets of St. John’s. The Governor General’s Deputy will take the Salute outside of Government House.
The Parliament will convene tomorrow Thursday 15 September at 9:30 am for the Lower House, and at 2:00 pm for the Upper House, both to pay tribute to our country’s fallen Head of State.
High Court retired Judge Errol Thomas has died. He was resident in St. Vincent at the time of his death. The Chief Justice has ordered that all courts in the jurisdiction of the Eastern Caribbean be closed on Monday, September 19, 2022, in honour of the sterling service to the people of the sub-region and for the promotion of Justice in the Caribbean.
3. The Cabinet received the Commissioner of Film, the Indian Honorary Counsel and an Indian Film Maker who promised to film a movie in Antigua. Tirlok Malik has promised to utilize Antiguan landscapes and seascapes as backdropsto his next movie and to introduce famous Antiguan cricketers in the cast. While movies cost millions of dollars to be produced, he has asked the Antiguan and Barbudan Government to make a minor contribution to the making of the movie. The Minister of Creative Industries has been directed by the Cabinet to hammer out a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the filmmaker that will be used as a guide by the Government regarding its responsibilities.
The Cabinet by policy is extending the Construct Antigua and Barbuda Initiative (CABI) to the repair of decrepit homes that do not exceed $100,000.00. The new policy will result in the elimination of the ABST and the Duty on building supplies but the homeowner will be required to pay the RRC. The Cabinet did not decide on a time limit.
The Cabinet invited the Head of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA) and an Antiguan and Barbudan expert on Aviation matters to address the issue of returning the countries of ECCA to Category One Status. It was agreed that certain legislation has to be put in place and also the upgrade of certain security measures.
The building in which the ECCA is housed is in need of repairs; the office will move temporarily while the Ministry of Works undertakes to complete the repairs and return the building to the ECCA in as short a time as possible. Under the agreement which permits ECCA to be placed in Antigua, the country is legally obligated to provide offices at no cost.
Last week the Cabinet announced that it was lifting certain restrictions on funerals of Covid victims, by allowing viewings at the funeral home with a barrier to prevent mourners from touching the deceased. This week the Cabinet is going one step further; it has agreed to take to Parliament legislation to amend the law which does not permit the body of the deceased to enter into a Church for service, at this time. Religious leaders and families are desirous of having their deceased relatives celebrated with blessings.
The Minister of Health reported that the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) will shortly receive advanced equipment for orthopedic diagnosis and treatment.The Hospital has been moving towards becoming the most advanced medical center in the region by introducing new technology and new services to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS. Kidney transplants, cataract removals, an ophthalmology department, a cardiac unit will soon be established, and other advanced diagnosis and treatment have become the hallmark of the SLBMC since 2014.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne will depart Antigua and Barbuda tomorrow Thursday, 15 September 2022, to attend the Royal Funeral Service of her Majesty and to meet with our new Head of State, King Charles III.He will then depart London and journey to New York to participate in the 77th United Nations General Assembly. Prime Minister Browne is expected to deliver the National Statement on Friday, 23 September 2022. He will be accompanied to New York by Honourable E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration; the team will be meeting, as is customary each year, with Antiguans and Barbudans in the diaspora at no charge.
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