The Cabinet was convened at approximately 10:30 am with prayers by a minister of religion, and concluded at about 3:30 pm, or five hours later. Two members were absent, away on official business overseas, one choosing nevertheless to join by Skype.
1. The Cabinet invited two officials to address its members in order to improve on services which are provided by those government departments:
i. The Director of Education addressed the issue of the break-ins and vandalism that have occurred in several schools, including Primary Schools. In one instance, thieves took a microwave oven, a refrigerator and were attempting to remove a stove as well. The Minister of National Security has pledged to use his own resources to replace both the refrigerator and the microwave. Six schools were broken-in this week.
ii. The Deputy Director of National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) was invited to Cabinet to address the continuing challenge of keeping the country clean. The Official reported that the NSWMA National Clean-up Campaign has come to an end and that the teams are now returning to work in their assigned communities. The Cabinet repeated its requirement that the direction of the teams in the community is to be determined by the representative; there was consensus among Cabinet members and the Officials that supervision of the teams may not be as vigorous as it ought to be. Hence, the supervisors and the representatives are to be in touch continuously. The object is to ensure that workers undertake a full day’s work for a full day’s pay; and, that they are strategically placed to keep the communities free of unwanted vegetation. Six more workers are to be added to the teams and additional resources are to be provided to ensure that the additional staff are paid.
2. The Prime Minister gave a report on his official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Nations (UN). In the UK, he met with King Charles III and focused upon his role (while he was Prince) in advocating for a sustainable environment, especially on global climate change. He also attended the Official funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
At the United Nations he met with the new British Prime Minister and indicated his interest in having the British Monarch continuing to advocate for reducing significantly carbon dioxide emissions by all member states of the UN.
The Prime Minister also held discussions with several Presidents and Prime Ministers in his capacity as Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). He signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Malta—a small island in the Mediterranean without lakes or rivers, dependent upon reverse osmosis water. The Prime Minister also reported that major media from all around the United States and the United Kingdom sought him out because of the interview granted to ITV, before his departure from Antigua. He had addressed the issue of turning away from being a constitutional monarchy and becoming a Republic in three or more years, by referendum.
3. The Minister of Creative Industries and Innovation sought the approval of the Cabinet for the schedule of events for the 41st Anniversary of Independence and the artistic logo. Following an intense discussion, the Cabinet agreed to both the schedule of the events and the artwork. There was some issue surrounding the November 1 Independence Ceremonial Parade that was held in the evening last year. The question arose whether it should be held in the evening this year; and, that was agreed.
4. The Cabinet received a report from the Minister of Agriculture regarding the Wallings Reservoir Park and the decision by its caretaker to surrender control of the National Parks site. The Minister reported that the signs that were contributed by corporate sponsors were taken and ought to be returned. The site was never leased, nor was ownership passed to anyone; it was a voluntary arrangement which has now come to an end.
5. The Minister responsible for Information Technology and Broadcasting reported that a team will visit Barbuda shortly to plant geo-stationary equipment that will enable superior communication and future surveys by significant Government departments in Antigua and Barbuda.
6. A team from the Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation will leave Antigua next month to participate and to promote Antigua at the October Miami Carnival. The Minister pointed out the importance of attending these Carnivals at which Antigua and Barbuda Carnival is promoted, and Antigua and Barbuda is promoted as a tourist destination. The Ministry of Tourism will also be featured and several Antiguan artistes will perform on stage for one hour. He provided evidence of the success of participation in the past.
7. The Cabinet gave priority to completing a number of improvements at the Clarevue Mental Hospital in order to make patients and staff far more comfortable. A certain newspaper in Antigua has chosen to report on its front page the shortcomings at Clarevue, completely disregarding other news that are of national importance.
8. Parliament will convene on Thursday, September 29, 2022, for a sitting of the Lower House. It will be a shorter-than-usual sitting, since members will leave to attend the funeral of Centenarian Mrs. Sheppard-Johnson, the mother of former parliamentarian Lenworth Johnson.