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Group Title: Official newsletter of the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission
Title: Official newsletter
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Title: Official newsletter
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Antigua and Barbuda High Commission
Publisher: Antigua and Barbuda High Commission
Place of Publication: London, England
Publication Date: November/December 2004
Copyright Date: 2010
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Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover
    Introduction
        Introduction
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
Full Text




NE


~,


LETTERE'


The Antigua and Barbuda High Commission


ISSUE No.94 November/December 2004


The lightedfountain in the centre of the
Country Pond
Inside
Ministers to take 10% cut in salary from January 1, 2005 (page 2)
Government receives Debt Forgiveness from DEVCON (pages 5 & 6)
Antigua and Barbuda listed as a destination for Chinese tourists (page 11)
Tourism season off to a grand start (page 11)
Digital Photographs by Maurice F. Merchant


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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SA Message from His Excellency Dr. Car/B. Roberts,
Hig Commissioner to te Court ofSt james's

The historic budget presented
on the 30th November by the
Minister of Finance and the Economy
was the first to be presented to
Parliament and passed before the
effective date of 1st January. It
demonstrated the Government's
determination to restructure its
expenditure and sources of income
to improve the "fiscal and economic
situation in Antigua and Barbuda".

We are therefore happy that
with the start of a new year at hand,
the signs of a rebirth of our blessed
country will take place and bring to
the fore the warmth and hospitality ot
our people. May the expressions ot
goodwill lift our spirits and rejuvenate
us all for the tasks ahead.
It is a season of joy and of us all for the tasks ahead.
peace when our thoughts turn to
I therefore take this
family and friends whether they are
ear r far or a ew oerment, opportunity to wish all of our readers
near or far. For a new Government,
A Blessed Christmas and a Happy
the focus has been on restoring the
New Year.
image of Antigua and Barbuda and
strengthening the unity among all
citizens in the State. HE DrCarlB Roberts

The visit by the Prime Minister
to China and the improvements in the
relationship between the
Government and one of the State's
significant investor, R. Allen
Stanford, have been some early
initiatives undertaken by the
Government to address the state of
the economy and the island's large
debt of XCD $3 billion.








Issue No. 9420


Prime Minister Spencer anb Generat Cao sig
aib agreement at tbe August ist Builing i


Antigua and Barbuda
receives 2 Million RMB for
Military Aid

On the 18th November the
Government of the People's Republic of
China gave the government of Antigua and
Barbuda 2 Million RMB (US $241, 496.31)
in gratis military aid.

A signing ceremony took place at
the August 1st Building in Beijing China
between Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer
and the Vice Chairman of the Central
Military Commission of China Cao
Gangchuan.

During discussions with Prime
Minister Spencer, General Cao
Gangchuan, who is a member of the
Political Bureau of the Communist Party of
China (CPC) stated that China is willing to
further strengthen relations between the
armies of China and Antigua and Barbuda.
He remarked, "In order to strengthen the
ties between our countries I urge further
exchanges. These include more Antigua
and Barbuda military exchanges and we
will accept Antiguan and Barbudan military
students to study in our military schools
here. The People's Liberation Army PLA
is willing to help develop the forces in


Antigua and Barbuda and
we will always continue to
provide aid to your forces."

Prime Minister
Spencer thanked the
Chinese Military for their
assistance and pledged
his government's support
in promoting the One
China Principle and
promoting peace which he
considers right, noble and

support the principle held
ning tbe military by the People's Republic
n Beijingj Cbixa of China that all nation's
can co-exist peacefully
and harmoniously. I am indeed looking
forward to our continued cooperation and
understanding especially in military and
security issues," Prime Minister Spencer
remarked.

The Prime Minister said that the
Chinese Government's philosophy of
promoting peace around the world by
pursuing a policy that all people's and
nations are entitled to decision making and
discussion on any affair is admirable. "I am
particularly pleased with the efforts of China
on the Haiti Issue of accepting that the
problems of the Caribbean island can be
resolved through dialogue and not through
force. Antigua and Barbuda will certainly rely
on China as a member of the United Nations
Security Council to continue playing a
meaningful role in resolving the problems of
Haiti," said the Prime Minister.

"China believes that rather than
countries pursuing their own interest at the
peril of others, cooperation and
understanding is crucial in resolving any
conflict which may arise from differences
which may occur from time to time," outlined
General Cao who is also the Minister of
National Defence and Director of the PLA
General Armament Department.

We should join hands and help
each other," added the General.


The agreement will allow for
the upgrade of the facilities at the
Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force
ABDF in the form of computers and
electrical power generation among other
things.


Prime Minister secures
additional street lighting for
major highway

Prime Minister Baldwin
Spencer signed an agreement with the
Government of the People's Republic of
China to provide aid for the erection
of additional street lights from the V.C.
Bird International Airport to the round-
about at the Antigua Recreation
Grounds.

The Prime Minister said that
the aid, which is a part of a 5 Million RMB
(US $603, 740.78) package, will be used
to provide 1500 street lights to enhance
one of the most important highways in
Antigua. "The Chinese government has
seen the importance of the project and
has graciously agreed to provide the
assistance. We thank the government
of China wholeheartedly for the
assistance and pledge to develop our
good relations," outlined the Prime
Minister. The aid package will also
provide funding for the construction of
hurricane shelters and the provision of
sporting goods to develop the volleyball,
tennis, golf, athletics, netball,
weightlifting, basketball and football
programmes in the schools.

The Chinese Government over
the years has provided Antigua and
Barbuda with a total amount of 210
million RMB (US $25,357,112.67) in
economic assistance under which the
Chinese have built schools, roads,
bridge, drainage ditch, exhibition centre
and other projects for the Antiguan and
Barbudan people.


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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L 7/


Ministers take 10% salary
cut as Government
implements austerity
measures

Government Ministers, Ministers
of State and Parliamentary Secretaries in
the United Progressive Party
Administration will take a 10% pay cut as
government implements austerity
measures to re-energize the country's
economy.

Finance and the Economy
Minister Dr. Errol Cort made the
announcement on 30th November during
the presentation of the 2005 "People's
Budget Foundation for a Fresh Start" in
Parliament. Dr. Cort said that the 10% cut,
which will become effective from January
1 2005, will be an added contribution by
the top government officials to a
Stabilization Fund which will be financed
mainly by the introduction of Personal
Income Tax.

"This means that when personal
income tax becomes operative on the 1st
of April, 2005, our Honourable Prime
Minister, my colleague Ministers, Ministers
of State and Parliamentary Secretaries,
and the Minister of Finance and the
Economy, will be taking home a lower
portion of our salaries than will other
income earners in our tax brackets in
Antigua and Barbuda," Dr. Cort outlined.

The Finance Minister also noted
that other officials, including Senators and
Board Members appointed by the
administration, will, more than likely,
voluntarily take a similar cut in salaries and
fees.

He also challenged the members
of the Opposition to do likewise. "I am
confident that Honourable Members
opposite need no urging to join the United
Progressive Party in this symbolic sharing
of the burden of adjustment at this time,"
Dr. Cort said.


R. Allen Stanford fulfils first
commitment in Alliance for
Development through
Education and Empowerment
with Government

On 1st December, R. Allen Stanford
handed over to Prime Minister Baldwin
Spencer a cheque for EC$1 million towards
the completion of the construction of the
National Library.

On 30th November, Finance and
the Economy Minister, Dr. Errol Cort,
announced that Prime Minister Spencer had
negotiated an arrangement with Mr. Stanford
with the prime fundamental being
development through education and
empowerment. The arrangement included
the donation towards the Library Fund.

During the presentation, it was also
announced that further funds which will be
raised for the completion of the library in six
months will be matched by R. Allen Stanford.


"Not only are you a great Prime
Minister you are a great negotiator Mr.
Prime Minister. We have just toured the
site and I have committed myself that
over the next two weeks the monies that
the Library Board can raise I will match.
I understand that there is about three
million dollars needed to complete the
library and the Prime Minister and I
agree that a year is too long to complete
the project, so the additional funds will
reduce the time by six months,"
announced Mr. Stanford.

Mr. Stanford also committed
technical assistance to the completion of
the project.

Prime Minister Spencer
commended Mr. Stanford for his
contribution and the gesture of matching
the funds that will be raised during the
special appeal. He said that other
business entities should follow Mr.
Stanford's lead and make a contribution.

"I urge every Antiguan and
Barbudan to contribute to this fund to
create a national institution for the
education of our people. Whatever you


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can contribute make sure you make a
donation which will be matched by Mr.
Stanford. We are seeking to do what is
right to ensure that we have a library in six
months time," outlined Prime Minister
Spencer.

The Library is being constructed
by the Ministry of Public Works.


PM Spencer addresses the
Nation on budgetary matters

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer
addressed the nation on 2nd December on
matters addressed in the 2005 Budget
Presentation.

On 30th November, Finance and
Economy Minister Dr. Errol Cort presented
a $609 million dollar Budget which
represents a reduction of $17 million from
2003. The country's recurrent expenditure
is estimated at $523 million with a deficit of
$86 million.

The Budget package included a
number of belt-tightening measures
designed to help the government repair the
economic woes left by the Antigua Labour
Party Administration. The measures
include a reduction of the public sector
through voluntary separation and
retirement, the introduction of Personal
Income Tax, a retail tax and an increase in
property tax. The removal of a number of
tax measures such as the customs service
tax and a number of other "nuisance taxes"
also formed part of the budget.

Another major component of the
budget was the establishment of an
alliance for development through
education and empowerment with Texan


billionaire R. Allen Stanford. The alliance
includes the donation of $1 million EC dollars
to the Library Construction Fund, the
establishment of a $10 million Fund for the
empowerment of new entrepreneurs, the
construction of a $25 million higher
education complex, the transforming of the
Stanford Development Company into a
professional management services company
outsourcing 70% of its construction projects
and the acquisition of Guiana Island for the
construction of a $3 billion dollar upscale
resort.

In his address the Prime Minister
said, "The Cabinet's recommendation that
the government should proceed with the
economic opportunities that would result
from alliance with the Stanford Group was an
economic decision.

I was in China when the matter
came before the Cabinet.

I endorsed the Cabinet position,
and I acted promptly in negotiating the
numerous agreements of the members of
Cabinet who were present at the meeting.

I have taken the time to listen to the
radio debate on the Alliance for
Development through Education and
Empowerment that the Government has
struck with the Stanford Group.

Some of the slander, the
defamation, of decent, upright people on the
radio talk shows, has been shocking and
deplorable. It is unfair and it is wicked. The
imputation against the Minister of Finance
that was permitted, if not encouraged by the
radio station is reprehensible.

The insinuation that there was
misinformation of the reporting of
government debt to the Stanford Group is
equally offensive. A proper reading would
have confirmed that IMF reported external
debt due to the Stanford Group.

It is not my intention to get into legal
intricacies that surround the Dato Tan deal
with the previous administration. I would


observe however, that the range and
scope of the entitlement to which the
previous government assented in the
Asian Village Agreement are repugnant
to any concept of sovereignty.

Those entitlements will form no
part of the eventual agreement with the
Stanford Group and development of the
lands that were ceded to Dato Tan Kay
Hock by the previous administration.

I am confident that any
development of those lands by the
Stanford Group will be of the character
and the standard they have established
in this country.

The government has given
approval for the Stanford Group's
development of the land-package in the
north of Antigua.

The land does not belong to the
state. Dato Tan Kay Hock's interests
hold the title to the land. The status is
that the bulk of the money due on the
sale of the land to those interests
remains unpaid. The Government has
filed court action to recover the land on
separate bases. We have no control
over how long that process will take; nor
can we control its outcome.

Acquisition of the land from
Asian Villages is an option open to the
government. We have the obligation to
establish the circumstances in which the
land was acquired for the sole purpose
of passing it to Dato Tan.

Those options will be explored.
One option we do not have the liberty to
explore is to turn away a legitimate
investor with a plan that will generate
some 2000 jobs in this country."


(For the full text of the Budget Speech 2005
and the the Prime Minister's Address to the
Nation, please visit our website at
www.antigua-barbuda.com, under Latest
News)


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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Issu N 9//r20


PM Spencer tells Shanghai
and Hong Kong
businessmen of investment
opportunities in Antigua and
Barbuda

During his recent visit to the
People's Republic of China, Prime Minister
Baldwin Spencer informed businessmen of
Hong Kong and Shanghai of the many
investment opportunities that are available
in Antigua and Barbuda.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting
with businessmen, the Prime Minister said
that Antigua and Barbuda offers a
business-friendly regulatory climate that is
conducive to profitability. He noted that his
government offers meaningful investments
to investors, without restrictions on the
repatriation of profits for foreign investors.

"We offer good communications
and infrastructure and an educated, skilled
and highly adaptable work force. We offer
to foreign personnel involved with foreign
investment projects ready access. We
have introduced integrity legislation
intended to eliminate corruption from the
approvals processes for investment
projects," outlined the Prime Minister.

He noted that his government has
completed the preliminary work for the
establishment of The Antigua and Barbuda
Investment Authority.

"The Antigua and Barbuda
Investment Authority will be a one-stop
regulatory and facilitation agency that will
coordinate and expedite the approvals
process for investors," he said.

The Antigua and Barbuda leader
also outlined a number of specific
investment options that his Government is
offering. "We have an established and
reputable banking sector, with strong
regulatory measures to protect its
integrity. We are reorganizing our


40- .-, --
44 # S
Prime~~.7 Miise Spne abrsigt- bn uiese


international financial services environment,"
he outlined.

He said that it is geared to
significant expansion of the range of financial
products available to operators in the sector
and pointed out that Antigua and Barbuda
and the United States share the same time
zone which will facilitate doing business in
both countries at the same time.

"I am inviting proposals for the
establishment of a major container trans-
shipment port in Antigua. Our geographic
location is ideal for such a facility. Our
proposed container trans-shipment port can
be a convenient, cost effective option for
distributing cargo to surrounding Caribbean
countries, and to Central and South
America," Prime Minister Spencer noted.

He also said that his government
would welcome Chinese involvement in
related Free Zone projects that could be a
manufacturing park and a wholesale
shopping centre for the Caribbean region.

"I also invite investment proposals
for the development of a premium Sea Island
cotton industry in partnership with the


Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
This will include linkages with textile and
garment manufacturing and marketing,"
he noted.

Prime Minister Spencer told the
Chinese business leaders that he would
be delighted to follow up on the
opportunities outlined. He stated that
the country's national Budget for 2005
will also offer special incentives for
investment in agricultural and seafood
projects.

"We will also offer special
incentives to investors in technology
operations. Significant incentives will be
targeted to manufacturing and assembly
of electronic products, including
communications hardware," said Prime
Minister Spencer.

Investment opportunities in the
Caribbean Theme Park and resort
development were also pointed out by
the Prime Minister outlining that his
government is intent on making Antigua
and Barbuda the best brand in
Caribbean tourism.


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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Is 94 2


Government receives Debt
Forgiveness from DEVCON

On the 3rd December the
Government began the process of
reducing the country's debt with the
signing of agreements allowing the
government and people to enjoy a debt
reduction from US$29.4 million to US$11.5
million owed to DEVCON.

The long standing debt to
DEVCON of US$29.4 million was for the
dredging of the harbour in 1987 which
included the first expansion of the Deep
Water Harbour and the Deep Water
Harbour pier construction.

The agreements signed between
Finance and Economy Minister, Dr. Errol
Cort and Director of the Antigua Masonry
Product (AMP) and Executive Vice
President of DEVCON Mr. Richard
Hornsby, were the result of extensive
negotiations between the Government of
Antigua and Barbuda and the AMP and
DEVCON principals. The Antigua and
Barbuda Investment (ABI) Bank Limited
has facilitated the full payment of the
balance on the loan of US$11.5 million
which will be financed through the floating
of bonds to cover the new amount at a
significantly lower interest rate on the
principal of the loan.


In a ,tnac et-iaoa Dai s /n Dai Mata of

DECO an He( carsn maae of* AB II'* *


IDY E-nofCnan iNsginag t* agreement I


"In order to pay off the loan we have
floated a US dollar bond with the kind
assistance of ABI Bank Limited. This
represents the beginning of what promises to
be a fruitful partnership between the
Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the
ABI Bank Ltd. in a joint effort to improve
Antigua and Barbuda's debt situation and
also to strengthen investor confidence in our
country. The government and the Ministry of
Finance and the Economy express our
gratitude to them for assisting us in a time of
great need," noted Dr. Cort.


He said that the
arrangements with ABI Bank
Limited and DEVCON signifies
that there is a "fresh wind of
change" in respect of Antigua
and Barbuda and it boosts the
confidence level that the region
and the international
community is displaying in
respect of the government.

Executive Vice President
of DEVCON Mr. Richard
Hornsby said that the forty-year
relationship that Antigua
Masonry Products and


DEVCON have with Antigua and
Barbuda has reached a new level and
believes that now is the right time to
assist in the restructuring of the
economy as his company is impressed
with the new approach of the
government. He indicated that the
provision of this debt relief to the
Government of Antigua and Barbuda is
intended to facilitate the Government
and people's efforts to improve the fiscal
and economic situation in Antigua and
Barbuda.

ABI Bank Limited, as
announced in Budget 2005, will also be
assisting the government in raising
EC$151 million by placing Treasury Bills
and Bonds on the platform of the
Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange
(ECSE). This will give government
access to regional platforms and a wider
capital base and provides investors with
an opportunity to invest in higher yielding
securities. The listing also provides
transparency for investors.

Manager of ABI Bank Limited,
Mr. Henley Richardson, said that
through prudent fiscal management the


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IsNo4Neer20


government could restructure some of its
existing debts as well as raise new capital
that will assist with the development plan
for the 2005 fiscal year. He noted that ABI
Bank Limited is happy to assist the
government in this endeavour.

Dr. Cort in commending the
efforts of ABI Bank Limited and DEVCON
made an appeal to government creditors to
work with the new administration as it
grapples with the near $3 billion national
debt issue.



Trade Facilitation: Duties
Bound for the Port (Part 2)

By Michael Freeland
Trade Affairs Officer
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade

In the last issue, there was
mention that the customs and exercise
division had already begun to implement
measures to ease the flow of trade.
Consumers are to be aware of the
Simplified Declaration Form (SDF) used
for the imports of personal and household
effects, used professional apparatus and
non-commercial items. Clearance of
goods should optimistically be effortless,
because of the introduction of an
Automated System for Customs Data, or
ASYCUDA which generates a number of
printouts showing an assessment notice, a
receipt and a release order in a few
minutes.

One forgetful and important
subject of the last commentary was that of
an appellate body. Such a body shows
transparency and offers the customers
some level of satisfaction for due recourse.
Individuals must have some legal or lawful
justification to resolve a dispute or an
inappropriate deed.

It is known that the Customs and
the Port Authority work closely together.


Micnaei t-reeiana, race Anairs unicer, ministry c
Foreign Affairs and International Trade


Thus, customs cannot be improved in an
effort to promote free trade, while the Port
itself is not enhanced. The question may
arise as to the Port being managed by a
private firm versus by the government
whereby in the former case greater efficiency
would be prevalent. This can only prove true
if the correct and proper measures are taken
to help ease the flow of goods.

Antigua and Barbuda has always
held a strong position that being in a
strategically geographical spot, it sees itself
providing a port hub between the North and
the South, especially in the FTAA. For this
notion to be accurate, security is just one of
the many important factors that is a vital
concern.

About two (2) months ago, Antigua
and Barbuda had to comply and meet a
deadline on July 1 with the International
Maritime Organization (IMO) security
measures. The changes to the body
established new international standards
relating to the acceptable security levels at
ports, which serve the international maritime
transport. Ports which handles ships over
500 gross tones on international passages,
had to be equipped at minimum with
perimeter fencing, lights, closed circuit
monitoring, controlled entry, physical patrol,
adequately trained personnel and a
response system. The ports which handled
less volume of cargo only required lighting,
close circuit monitoring and other passive
methods. Ports in this twin island state are


ml .......


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placed in both categories. However,
the question may loom as to whether
these basic requirements can lead to
an easier flow of goods.

There are high returns from an
efficient security system. The returns
are evident in the seizure of drugs,
guns and ammunition and goods
valued at million of dollars. Security
systems have helped to identify
several uncustomed goods that
Should normally have passed through
the system. Another security system
is the Vehicles and Cargo Inspection
System (VACIS). VACIS is in effect
a mobile truck, which is used to scan
containers and then create an x-ray
image of the contents. This system is in
operation at the ports in Jamaica. In
addition, there is also a VACIS pallet
system, which is a fixed unit in the
warehouse, which is used for scanning
barrels and boxes.

To be considered as an
efficient Port, the turnaround time is very
important. What need to be keenly
looked at are the latest technological
devices and the capacity to increase the
size of the Port. Installing new ship to
shore gantries to move at twice the
speed as the originals, and have larger
storage areas to accommodate
increased traffic is ideal. The ability to
handle more than 1,200 vessels and
more than 1 million containers (TEUs)
breathes a more competitive stance.
With such a proposition, the
implementation of a global positioning
system for aide in the accurate parking
and identification of containers should
be incorporated. A port cannot be
operational unless there is a 99% and
higher reliability on power supply.

Many consumers would
appreciate the fact that they can clear
their goods before arrival at the Port. An
electronic commerce (e-commerce)
system which involves a value-adding
IT-business solution and superior
customer service is fundamental







977,nr-

Isu o 4Noehr20


towards efficiency and accountability.
Inefficient payment and credit
arrangements remain an obstacle to trade,
often resulting in long delays for the
payment of goods. Payment should be as
easy as a click of a button rather than
being subjected to waiting 45 minutes at
the one cashier and/or additionally paying
rent if the goods have arrived over 5 days.
Therefore, rules that recommend faster
payment methods and faster bank
handling of transactions should be
created. Rules providing greater flexibility
on payment methods where foreign
controls persist also need addressing.

The crucial ingredient to the
suggestions mentioned above is
personnel. No new advanced method can
be integrated without proper training of
new and existing employees. A
comprehensive programme must be
developed relevant to people skills and
personal expertise. Training of employees
should have a special emphasis on multi-
skilling. Extensive mechanical and
electrical surveys followed by a systematic
repair and maintenance programme to
improve the reliability of all container-
handling equipment are necessary for
improvement.

However, employees of the Port
must appreciate their work to ensure that
the plans put in place are executed in a
beneficial manner. Hence, the introduction
of a productivity scheme, which could take
on the form of rewarding operations and
engineering employees when set levels of
performance on vessel output and truck
turnaround times have been achieved,
could be an example. A similar approach
could also be taken into account for
supervisors and other areas of the Port
staff.

Trade facilitation can only be
achieved if obstacles are removed. The
critical aspect of such lies heavily on
measures to ensure fewer complications
and loss of revenue. In this article, as well
as the previous, some of Jamaica's
programmes have been mentioned.


win Spencer wito Commonwed
Donal McKinnon


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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Reason being that this island is the closest
within the region that is already on the path
of readiness towards the free movement of
goods. Also, and very noteworthy, its Port is
ranked 63 among all the ports (some 250
ports) trading in the world.

In another issue, a discussion on
tariff elimination to accommodate Trade
Facilitation will be the viewpoint. It has been
suggested that a country can reap benefits
from reduced trade transaction costs by
easing border procedures. However, there is
a grave concern that to spend scarce
resources on developing infrastructure to
facilitate trade is not greater than meeting the
basic social needs of the people.


PM Spencer meets
Commonwealth Secretary
General

On the 6th December Prime
Minister Baldwin Spencer and
Commonwealth Secretary General, Donald
McKinnon, held wide ranging discussions on


the Commonwealth's assistance to
Antigua and Barbuda.

The main focus of the meeting
was the Commonwealth's work in
connection with relations between
Antigua and its sister island Barbuda.
Prime Minister Spencer told the
Commonwealth Secretary General that
the people of Barbuda have a new
attitude towards the new government
and the issue now is how to cooperate in
moving forward. He said that secession
is no longer an issue. The review report
of the Commonwealth Review Team on
the Antigua/Barbuda relationship
conducted in September this year is due
out shortly.

Another major issue discussed
during the meeting was Antigua and
Barbuda's indebtedness to the
Commonwealth Secretariat and a
number of its institutions. The
government presently owes the
Commonwealth Foundation over
109,000 while the Commonwealth
Secretariat is owed over 185,000.








xIsuN.4Ner20


For every dollar Antigua and
Barbuda pays to the Commonwealth it
gets $10 in return. The organisation has
assisted the country in debt management,
public sector reform, legislative drafting,
reform of the financial services sector and
skills training for over 81 Antiguans and
Barbudans over the past five years.

Prime Minister Spencer outlined
that his government is willing to commit to
the new regulations of contributing to the
Commonwealth Secretariat and will
negotiate the arrears left by the previous
administration. As a result of Antigua and
Barbuda's indebtedness to the
organisation, the country has seen a
reduction of benefits and will be
reclassified as a "special member" if the
arrears are not covered. If Antigua and
Barbuda is classified as a special
member it will have implications for its
participation in the next Commonwealth
Heads of Government meeting next year.


East Bus Station to
be transformed

The East Bus Station will soon
be transformed into a modern bus
terminal and car par facility.

Minister of Public Works and
Deputy Prime Minister of Antigua and
Barbuda, Wilmoth Daniel, made the
announcement during his presentation on
the 2005 Budget in the House of
Representatives.

The Minister noted that the multi-
storey car park facility, which will house
at least 300 cars, will be undertaken by a
Trinidad and Tobago consortium which
will fund the project and within 15 years
the government will have ownership of
the property.

"The company is well known to
the government and we are confident that
some 200 jobs will be created during the
construction phase of the project. They


have presented their proposals to the
Cabinet and will be conducting further
studies shortly," Minister Daniel outlined.

The facility will also feature
commercial space for rent, a mini-mart,
and areas for vendors. The bus terminal
will be a covered facility, while the
adjacent park will be remodelled to
include a playground with uncovered
seating.

During his presentation the
Minister also announced that the
government will be constructing a new
headquarters for the Antigua Public
Utilities Authority (APUA). The
government pays $80,000 per month in
rent for the present facility in Cassada
Gardens. In addition, Minister Daniel
stated that a headquarters for the Antigua
and Barbuda Transport Board will be
constructed and a sewage treatment
system will be introduced in the city of St.
John's.


Prime Minister and Deputy
Prime Minister Light-Up
transformed Country Pond

On the evening of 16th
December, Prime Minister Baldwin
Spencer, Deputy Prime Minister Wilmoth
Daniel and Engineer Gordon "Sunshine"
Chambers flicked the switch turning on
the lights and water fountain in the
transformed historical Country Pond in St.
John's.

The Country Pond, formerly
known as Congo Pond, is believed to
have been fashioned off ponds in
Burundi, Africa and built during the latter
days of slavery/early post emancipation
period by Congolese with special skills.
The Country Pond which is fed by an East
Pond was said to be the main source of
water supply for the surrounding villages
during that period.


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Tel: 020 7486 7073 Fax: 020 7486 9970


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The historical site has been
transformed into a tourist attraction with
the addition of lights reflecting on the
huge body of water, a fifteen-spray
fountain located in its centre and a back
drop of a mural painted by a Haitian
resident depicting pre and post colonial
living in Antigua and Barbuda.

The project, which was the
brainchild of the Deputy Prime Minister
Wilmoth Daniel, was funded by
contributions from members of the public
and business community in the country.
"This project bridges the political divide in
this country as contributions were
received from staunch supporters of the
Opposition Labour Party and the
government. We believe that the time
has come to transform our country into a
place where visitors and locals alike can
be proud of," remarked the Deputy Prime
Minister speaking to a throng of people
gathered to witness the event.

Tourism Minister Harold Lovell
said that he is delighted that the Deputy
Prime Minister came up with the idea to
beautify the area as it falls within his
Ministry's thrust to re-brand Antigua and
Barbuda providing additional attractions
and activities for visitors to the nation's
shores.

Prime Minister Spencer who
also spoke at the function noted that his
government is committed to changing
Antigua and Barbuda into a better place
and having the lighting ceremony before
the Christmas Season is a special gift to
the people from his Government.

The government has also
engaged the services of the local
electrical company APUA to construct
water pumps in the area to assist the
young men who utilise the pond to carry
out the business of washing vehicles.




^M /,,
































Prime Miinister Bcdb,,'in Speilcer amiu Vice Presibent of td7e Peopfe's Republic of China, ZeHn3
Qijihitbonq. Seated on tle Prime Miniister's riglA is tle Miinister of State, DT Qfinn-Leanbro


Antigua and Barbuda listed
as a destination for Chinese
tourists

On Prime Minister Spencer's
recent visit to China, Vice-President of the
Peoples Republic of China, Zeng
Quinghong announced that Antigua and
Barbuda is listed as a destination for
Chinese tourists.

The announcement was made
during talks between Prime Minister
Spencer and the Vice President at the
Great Hall of the People. Both
governments also pledged to continue to
develop economic, trade and cultural
cooperation.

During the discussions Vice
President Zeng outlined that the decision
to list Antigua and Barbuda as a tourist
destination is designed to bring economic
growth to the country and further develop
cooperation between both countries. "My
government will also make every effort to
further expand the economic, trade,


cultural and military friendship that exists
between our countries," outlined the high
ranking Chinese official.

Prime Minster Spencer said that
his government is pleased that Antigua
and Barbuda has been listed as a tourist
destination as his country is heavily
dependent on Tourism for economic
development. "I am looking forward to the
day when Air China makes its inaugural
flight to Antigua and Barbuda packed with
Chinese tourists," he noted.

Vice President Zeng noted that
President Hu Jintao, who is on a trip to
Latin America, attaches great importance
to the relationship between Antigua and
Barbuda and is looking forward to bringing
the bilateral relationship to a new high.
He said that his government is pleased to
see that the assistance provided have
contributed and continues to contribute to
the development of the society in Antigua
and Barbuda.

^*.^' lj3


Tourism season off to a
grand start

(Excerpted from the Antigua Sun)

On the 2nd December, the
2004-2005 tourism season began in a
high gear when four ships carrying
10,360 passengers pulled alongside
Heritage Quay dock for a warm Antiguan
welcome from Tourism Minister Harold
Lovell.

Accompanying Minister Lovell
were Minister of State in the Ministry of
Tourism, Hilson "Brother B" Baptiste,
Director of Tourism Shirlene Nibbs and
President of the Antigua and Barbuda
Cruise and Tourism Association Nathan
Dundas.

In welcoming the visitors to
Antigua, Lovell said, "We expect an
increasing number of visitors by sea and
air. This means therefore that all
Antiguans and Barbudans can look
forward to earning the income that they
so richly deserve.

The Minister emphasised the
need for excellent delivery on service to
visitors as this will ensure that Antigua
maintains its competitive edge in the
tourism industry. Heritage Quay was
alive with activities and entertainment as
the Tourism Department presented a full
cultural package featuring poetry by
Sylvanus Barnes, and a musical treat by
Calypso Joe, Dell Richardson, and the
National Youth.

The Antigua Dance Academy,
Mr. Moves, Sunny Dale dancers also
entertained the tourists while a fashion
show was put on by Vanda Neile.

The Greenbay Iron Band
brought the curtains down on the
programme.


15 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JT
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WIl i .iwi .m-barbuda.com







Issu No. 9/20


A


bmi now flies from
Manchester to Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda's Tourism
Officers have over the years been asked
about the prospect of a direct flight from
Manchester to Antigua. We now have
such a service and sincerely hope that
nationals and non-nationals alike will use
what we think is an excellent service.

Mrs Florence Cash from Antigua
and Barbuda's Office in London was
invited on the inaugural flight; she reports
that the service was very good and the
reception on arrival in Antigua was well
organized dignitaries from all areas of the
tourism industry were on hand to welcome
the journalists and special guests.

It was a prestigious occasion for
all involved. The Antigua service was
hosted by Chairman Sir Michael Bishop.
Along with Nigel Turner and Florence
Cash from Antigua and Barbuda Tourist
Office, he welcomed the first passengers
and then departed with a press group to
introduce them to the island.

At the end of their visit the press
unanimously announced that Antigua was
the place to be "the sun shone all week!".


_:


(left) bmi in the
background of
Mrs f[orence
casb wbo is
f[ankeb b6 Sir
Micbael Bisbop,
chairman bmi -
left anb Nigel
Dolman, Senior
Manager Regions
'" ~ -bmi right


World Travel Market 2004

Antigua and Barbuda was
recognized as a premier destination
among the myriad of competing
destinations in the Caribbean and the
world, and increased its standing among
the UK travel trade on the heels of
significant growth in the UK visitors in 2004.

With UK visitors increasing by
23% up to September, compared to overall
growth in visitor arrivals of 12%, a number
of extensive meetings were held with the
Minister of Tourism, Harold Lovell, and
Antigua and Barbuda's existing partners,
tour operators and airlines who indicated
their satisfaction with the growth of
business over the past year. Plans were
extended to work jointly with the
destination to continue the growth
particularly among high yield sectors of the
UK and European market.

World Travel Market 2004 will be
remembered as a high point for trade fair
participation by Antigua and Barbuda have
definitely left its mark among the
international media, trade visitors and
general public who clamoured for
autographs from the cricketing greats Sir
Vivian Richards, Richie Richardson and
Curtley Ambrose and their colleagues
Joel Garner and Brian Lara congregating
around the pulsating rhythms of Rawdon
Edwards and Lacu Samuel on the lively
stand representing the best of Antigua and
Barbuda.


I


Bl
n,'\


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Rum


Anyone wishing to
purchase Engttish
Harbour Rum
shouldcontact
the
London Distributors
PetaCEnterprise
at
TeC 07714 112 073
Tel /ax: 020 8590 8784
e-mai&
petafl5o6@hotmailcom




: l :


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