The Cabinet was called-to-order at about 10:30 am and concluded its work at 5:30 pm. Three members were absent and a fourth joined by virtual means. The Attorney General, serving as Prime Minister, chaired the Cabinet.
1. The Cabinet invited the INET and Electricity Managers and the General Manager of APUA to its meeting to answer questions related to their portfolios. i. The Cabinet inquired of the Electricity Manager about lighting dark areas on Airport Road, Friars Hill Road, parts of the City of St. John’s, and several villages including Liberta and Golden Grove. Dark areas in several public schools throughout the country are also to be lighted. The Electricity Manager reported that seven hundred lights are available for deployment; and, in some instances, APUA has arranged to have holes dug to accommodate the forms on which the lights will be erected. 200 lights are solar powered and 500 will have to be connected to the electricity supply. The APUA has also ordered 1,000 additional lights that will arrive in Antigua before the end of the year; many of these will be deployed early in the New Year. The Electricity Manager asserted that electricity rates are the lowest in the Caribbean, save for Trinidad and Tobago—an oil-producing country where the cost of energy is exceedingly low. The General Manager also indicated that a water supply schedule is published daily and that APUA personnel report on the provision of water to districts on radio, each weekday.
ii. The commercial center of St. John’s will be decorated with coloured lights for Christmas. They are being ordered now to make their erection possible in time for the Christmas Holidays.
iii. The APUA INET Manager indicated that prices at APUA are competitive and that it is exceedingly difficult for APUA to retrieve its expenses were it to lower cost any further. APUA continues to make an investment in Broadband services; and, fiber will soon be available in the South of the island, where the conduits are being laid as the roadways are being resurfaced.
2. The Cabinet invited the managers of both Leeward Islands Cricket and Cricket West Indies to its meeting.
i. The Manager of Leeward Island Cricket pointed out that the USVI, BVI and St. Marteen are integral members of Leeward Island Cricket and the entity is made up of eight (8) territories. The headquarters are now in St. Kitts. The company is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with a president, CEO and board members. Leeward Island Cricket LLC is now attempting to form a closer alliance with Cricket West Indies and may likely move its headquarters to Antigua. The manager reported that a “Gold-Jacket” award will start this year, and the ceremony will be held in the BVI. Its purpose is to confer honours on both past and present Leewards cricketers who have had a distinguished presence on the team.
ii. The Executive Director of Cricket West Indies indicated that ownership of the Coolidge Cricket Grounds is to be finally settled. The Cricket West Indies has partnered with the Ministry of Sports and will repair and replace all the non-working lights at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in preparation for hosting the Super 50 matches. On November 1st commencing at 1:00 pm, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium will host a match between the Leewards and Jamaica. That Match will be broadcast live around the world. Entry to this match will be at no cost on Independence Day, while the Annual Food Fair will also be taking place. On December 9th, V.C. Bird Day, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium will host another match. Same conditions will apply where there is no cost. That match will be between West Indies Women and England Women. Cricket West Indies is still working with APUA using its MPLS network; however, it still needs dark fiber from the Stadium to operate its media headquarters at Coolidge. The Cabinet members expressed their appreciation for having Cricket West Indies present in Antigua and Barbuda.
3.i. The Minister of National Security announced that a Mental Health Specialist / Counselling Psychologist has been appended to the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda. The Commissioner of Police expresses his thanks to the Cabinet for making this professional available to the police given the stresses of their job.
ii. Given the isolation and disconnect which the students and the teachers experienced, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, which were so very significant, the Minister of Education also requested that four (4) additional School Counselors be deployed in the education system. The Cabinet agreed with the Minister and has mandated that this intervention is addressed immediately.
4. The Minister of Health informed the Cabinet that 20 steel toilets have been ordered for the Clarevue Mental Hospital at $1,500 USD each (before shipping). A total cost of USD $31,011 will be provided by the Cabinet.
5.i. The Governor General’s Academic Award ceremony will be conducted on Thursday 20th October at 9:00 am at the Government House. The highest performing students in the past year will be applauded and provided with medals.
ii. The Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, scheduled to meet tomorrow (Thursday), has been postponed until Monday 24th October at 10:30am. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda will join with many supporters to celebrate the ground-breaking of the £4,000,000 Pounds Sterling redevelopment of the current Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) with the construction to commence on Monday 24th October. The contract has been awarded to a local contractor (Mr. Colin Harrigan). There will be a formal groundbreaking ceremony commencing at 9:00 am on Thursday morning.
iii. Cabinet has NOT agreed to lift the ban on hunting of whales and is not aware of any statement which suggests otherwise.