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: March 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099220
Volume ID: VID00015
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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T -- The Antigua and Barbuda High Commission
ISSUE No.108 March 4th April 2006

Press Statement by The Honourable Dr. L. Errol Cort,
Minister of Finance and the Economy:

4th April 2006
"Almost exactly a year ago, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) found the United States in violation of
its commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services with
respect to its prohibition on the provision of cross-border gambling and
betting services from Antigua and Barbuda to consumers in the United
States. Minister of Finance and the Economy,
Dr Errol Cort
After a lengthy and contentious process, the WTO gave the United
States until Tuesday, 3 April 2006, to bring its laws into compliance with the rulings of the DSB in our case.
The deadline has come and passed and the United States has made no effort towards compliance. The only laws
introduced into the United States Congress in recent months would, in fact, further entrench the discriminatory nature of the United
States' approach to cross-border gambling and betting services.
The United States Trade Representative has rebuffed every offer Antigua and Barbuda has made to engage the United
States in an attempt to work out a reasonable resolution of this dispute. It is not just that discussions have proven difficult; it is
simply that the United States has refused to discuss any compromise or settlement at all.
It is ironic that at this point in time when the United States is upbraiding other WTO nations for failing to meet their
obligations under WTO agreements and failing to act as "responsible stakeholders" in international trade matters, the very same
United States government would treat its own WTO obligations to Antigua and Barbuda with such scant regard.
As a member of the World Trade Organisation, Antigua and Barbuda agreed to abide by the rules and decisions of this
esteemed body and, we expect that all other members would do likewise, irrespective of size and/or wealth.
While the United States flaunts the decision of the WTO in our case and attempts to shore up its own domestic monopoly
on gambling and betting services, Antigua and Barbuda wants to point out that we have a highly regulated gaming industry in our
country. We have and maintain strict laws that protect the integrity of the services provided from our shores; we prevent underage
gaming and lock out this country's services from money laundering and other criminal activity.
We have offered to engage in co-regulation with the United States and to limit our gaming sector until the United States
could observe and evaluate the effectiveness of our regulations. We have, in fact,
Inside agreed to work with the United States in any regard to ensure the safety of the
services our providers offer to US consumers.
S Antigua and Barbuda and Spain to Regrettably, all of our offers have been not just rejected, but ignored.
Antigua and Barbuda and Spain to
strengthen relations (page 41 It, no doubt, will be extremely challenging for our very small island state to
ICC gives positive rating to Sir Vivian effectively retaliate against this internationally unlawful conduct of the United States,
Richards Cricket Stadium (page 5) but we remain resolute in our quest to fully enforce our international trading rights,
Mill Reef Club donates library to thereby protecting and further enhancing the economic opportunities for our citizens
Freetown Primary School (page 81 and residents and also providing that needed level of economic diversification within
Cuba to assist Antigua and Barbuda the global competitive environment.
in cutting energy cost (page 11) (continued on page 9)

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My Dear Readers,

Easter is a time of much reflection as we
remember the life, work, suffering, death and
resurrection of our dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Christ. Let me therefore on behalf of my family, the
staff of the High Commission and on my own behalf
wish each of you a Blessed Easter and trust that the
short time away from work will be well spent in your
personal reflections.

The work at the Mission is intensifying as we
strive to revise our strategies for our main industry,
Tourism and strengthen our initiatives in many other
areas which we believe will enhance the prosperity to
our nation and bring about a better quality of life of
our fellow citizens. This may result in some changes
in our operations and/or personnel but rest assured
that our every intention is for the prosperity of our
beloved homeland.

As we reflect let us also remember those
institutions which have helped the development of the
Antigua and Barbuda which we have come to love
today. Among these is a religious institution whose
history in Antigua and Barbuda is nearly as rich as

our Nation's. I speak of the Moravian Church which
this year celebrates its 250th anniversary in our state.

The Moravians first came to Antigua and
Barbuda in 1756 out of a desire to "take the Gospel of
Jesus Christ to all oppressed peoples"
[]. They did not stop at
preaching about Jesus only but took on the arduous
task of educating the slaves especially once freed.
Their accomplishment of this was evidenced by their
recognition as being the "first organised religious
bodies to establish primary and secondary schools for
slaves in the West Indies". [op.cit]

Many of you will remember the Moravian
Schools in Antigua and the Teachers Training College
at Spring Gardens. As a young boy I received my first
education at the Moravian School and can readily
remember such stalwart educators as Teacher Madge
or Ms. Tanner.

Though the Church is not as active in
education these days, we must take time out to
remember it for what it has done. It was a selfless
example of missionary work which did not limit itself to
the Gospel.

The Church today is still vibrant in Antigua
and Barbuda and its members, coming from all walks
of life, continue to make their contribution to the
development of our nation. May we all join in showing
our sincere appreciation for the rich heritage of the
Moravian Church and in praying that our Sovereign
Lord continues to bless its membership so that the
work of the Church universal can and will continue.

It is quite fitting that we take time to
remember such institutions especially in this our 25th
year of Independence. Going forward we will need
many more contributors in our society to help us to
mould the generations of tomorrow. Let us therefore
pledge our united efforts to develop the necessary
strategies to give hope and meaning to our fellow
citizens especially the young, to look to God for
guidance and to obey his command to love our
neighbours as ourselves. Have a Blessed Easter.

Dr Carl Roberts
High Commissioner


Government files Suit
against former Prime
Minister Bird and eight
defendants to account for

On 1st March, Attorney General
and Minister of Legal Affairs Justin L.
Simon QC, announced that he has filed
a claim in the High Court by the
Government against nine defendants
including the former Prime Minister
Lester Bryant Bird, the former Minister of
Finance John E. St. Luce, Opposition
Member of Parliament Asot Michael,
former Ambassador to Israel and Russia
and West Indies Oil Co. principal Bruce
Rappaport and five companies two of
which are associated with Mr. Asot
Michael and the other three with Mr.
Bruce Rappaport.

The claim is asking for an
account of monies alleged to have been
misappropriated from the government's
account formerly at Swiss American
National Bank and latterly at Antigua and
Barbuda Investment Bank, special
damages in the sum of US$41,414,904.
00 and general damages for
misrepresentation and misfeasance in
public office.

We reproduce in full the text of
the Attorney General's Statement:

"Against the background of the
present headlines today, I wish to inform
the general public that last week Monday
the 20th day of February 2006, a claim
was filed in the High Court by the
Government against nine defendants
including the former Prime Minister
Lester Bryant Bird, the former Minister of
Finance John E. St. Luce, Opposition
Member of Parliament Asot Michael,
former Ambassador to Israel and Russia
and West Indies Oil Co. principal Bruce
Rappaport and five companies two of
which are associated with Mr. Asot

Issue No. 108 March 2006

Michael and the other three with Mr. Bruce

The claim is in the main asking for
an account of monies alleged to have been
misappropriated from the government's
account formerly at Swiss American
National Bank and latterly at Antigua and
Barbuda Investment Bank, special
damages in the sum of US$41,414,904. 00
and general damages for
misrepresentation and misfeasance in
public office.

This claim has been filed as a
result of investigations conducted by Mr.
Bob Lindquist who you will recall was
appointed in the latter part of 2004 by this
Administration to investigate certain
questionable financial transactions
conducted or executed by Ministers and
other public officials in the last

Allow me to briefly explain the
basis of this High Court claim.

In October 1984 the Government
and APUA contracted with a Japanese
company "IHI" for the construction of the
Crabbs desalination and Power Plant at a
cost of US$33 million. 85% of the cost or
US$ 29,750,000.00 was to be financed by
IHI the Japanese company and repaid by
Government under a guarantee at 8%
interest over a period of ten years from
November 1986 to May 1997. The total
amount that Government would have had
to pay over that ten-year period was
US$42, 245, 000.00.

Government fell behind in its
repayment of that debt along with its
repayment on two other debts: one to
Foster Wheeler in relation to the
desalination plant and the other to Credit
Suisse in respect to the expansion of
Halcyon Cove Hotel.

In March 1990 Government
appointed Bruce Rappaport to negotiate
the three outstanding debts on its behalf

and to obtain better repayment
terms. That was done and Credit
Suisse and Foster Wheeler debts
were subsequently paid in full.
Government however again fell
behind with the IHI debt repayment

In November 1996
Government authorized Bruce
Rappaport to again renegotiate the
IHI debt to allow for repayment within
an extended period of at least twenty
years. Mr. Rappaport subsequently
reported that he had reached an
agreement with IHI to repay the debt
by monthly payments of US$403,
334.00 over 25 years beginning
December 31, 1996 until November
2021. An Agreement was signed on
September 11 1997 on behalf of the
Government by Lester Bird and John
St. Luce to pay the monthly sum of
US$403,334.00 for the next 25 years
to Mr. Rappaport's company in
Bermuda, IHI Debt Settlement Co.
ltd., for onward payment to IHI. The
monthly sum was to be paid from the
consumption tax revenue paid to
Government by West Indies Oil
Company in respect of the sale of
petroleum products. At that time
WIOC was enjoying a monopoly on
the importation of petroleum
products into Antigua along with
concessions, which were to expire in
April 2001. Government then agreed
to an extension of all rights,
privileges, and concessions that had
previously been granted to WIOC for
a further 20 years to April 2021 the
very year that debt payments to IHI
would end.

From September 1997 the
Financial Secretary began
questioning Government's
arrangement with Mr. Rappaport but
got no answers. He did his own
calculations and concluded that the
total debt figure as stated by Mr.
Rappaport was highly inflated. He
advised the Minister of Finance that

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"under the circumstances therefore we
cannot recommend signing of the
agreement as the difference is too great."
In February 1999 in response to queries
from APUA's external auditors and
senior accountant, IHI informed APUA
that debt payment arrangement that they
had reached with Mr. Rappaport was a
reduced monthly payment by
Government of US$199,740.25 for 25
years commencing September 1997.

I remind you that Rappaport
had advised and obtained from
Government the monthly sum of
US$403, 334.00 from December 1996 ---
an excess monthly amount of US$203,
594.00. Further, Government's monthly
payments began in December 1996
while IHI stated that monthly payments
were to begin in September 1997 and
end in August 2022.

In June and again in August of
1999 the Financial Secretary sought an
explanation from Bruce Rappaport for
this great discrepancy and appealed to
Lester Bird and Asot Michael. By letter
dated November 3, 1999 Bruce
Rappaport advised Lester Bird that out of
the monthly payment of US$403,334.00:

* US$199,740.25 went to IHI for
the debt repayment

* US$133,837.14 was his
monthly fee for settling the debts of
Credit Suisse & Foster Wheeler

* US$56,333.00 was his monthly
costs for settling the IHI debt; and

* US$13,244.00 was his
"monthly success fee"

He further advised that as of
February 1, 2001 Government could
reduce its monthly payment from
US$403,334.00 to US$269,317.00. Just
like that! No explanations were given

and none was sought. The monthly excess
payment was in 2001 reduced from
US$203,594.00 to US$69,576.75, and that
payment has continued until last month.
We have estimated that Mr. Rappaport
collected between December 1996 and
January 2006 an amount of US$14,414,
904.00 in excess of the payments made to
IHI to repay Government's debt.

Where did that money go?

The payments were made from
Antigua to Mr. Rappaport's company's
account in a bank in Bermuda and later to
a bank in Miami by way of a standing order
given by Government firstly to Swiss
American Bank and then to ABIB. The
standing order could only be revoked or
changed by the joint signature of
Government and Mr. Rappaport. From the
investigation it appears that some of the
excess payments went to a Bermuda bank
account of Bellwood Services, S.A. a
Panamanian company whose directors are
Asot Michael and his mother Josette
Michael. And that from that account,
monies were paid to the Antigua Labour
Party, to Ron L. Lester, the ALP's pollster,
to the bank account of Patrick A. Michael
Ltd., in Antigua, to a Florida company
Giddie Ltd., and to Asot Michael
personally, to name a few of the

Finally, in May 2005 Mr.
Rappaport's company opened accounts at
Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank into
which it deposited the aggregate sum of
US$1,500, 000.00, and from June 2005 the
monthly excess payment amount of
US$69,500.00. These monies had been
transferred from its account at the Miami

Last week Tuesday I obtained an
Injunction against Antigua and Barbuda
Investment Bank preventing the bank from
transmitting any monies from the
Government's account; and from any of the
Rappaport companies' accounts on the
instruction of any of the account holders or

Issue No. 108 March 2006

their agents. That is the extent of
ABIB's involvement in the situation.
On Thursday last week we obtained
in Miami an Injunction against Mr.
Rappaport's companies and the
Miami bank preventing disposal of
any of the payments received from

The investigation has been
time consuming. The defendants are
entitled to file their defence and to
their day in court. The wheels of
justice must now be allowed to take
its course. For the time being no
further statements will be made by
Government on this matter.

The investigative attention
of Mr. Lindquist will now be focused
on the financial transactions of the
Antigua and Barbuda International
Ships Registry.

Hon. Justin L. Simon QC
Attorney General and Ministry of
Legal Affairs

March 1, 2006

Antigua and Barbuda
and Spain to strengthen

On March 1 Prime Minister
Baldwin Spencer welcomed the
Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva to
Antigua and Barbuda for wide-
ranging discussions.

Ambassador Silva during
the deliberations explained that
Spain was seeking to strengthen
relations with CARICOM countries at
this time. He pointed out that the

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European Union/Latin America
Caribbean Summit will be held in early
May in Vienna, and that Spain was
inviting CARICOM Heads of State to
Spain at that time.

Ambassador Silva also
revealed that in 2008, the International
exhibition will be held in Zaragoza, Spain
and he urged Antigua and Barbuda and
CARICOM to use this opportunity to
showcase the region especially in
tourism. He said that it would also be an
opportunity for political dialogue and to
attract foreign investment.

Prime Minister Spencer
welcomed Spain's initiatives and pointed
to specific areas of cooperation for
consideration. He mentioned that water
was the theme of Expo 2008, and that
Antigua and Barbuda would seek
cooperation with Spain in water related

Both men also discussed the
promotion of Spanish as a language, and
the possibilities for language instructors,
both in schools and through exchange
programmes. PM Spencer also
elaborated on the CSME and the OECS.

Civil Registry soon
to be computerized

The modernization of the Civil
Registry has become a reality as the
signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding between the General
Secretariat of the Organization of
American States, through its Secretariat
for Political Affairs and the Government
of Antigua and Barbuda took place on
Thursday, 9th March at the Headquarters
of the Ministry of Justice on Parliament

The Memorandum of
Understanding is intended for the
implementation of a Cooperative

Agreement between the two parties,
setting out the terms and conditions
governing an OAS Technical Assistance
Project to computerize Births, Deaths,
Marriages and other Records at the
Government's Civil Registry, and for the
Provision of Advisory Services and/or
Technical Assistance at the Government's
Electoral Office.

According to Justice Minister
Colin Derrick, the strengthening and
modernizing of the Civil Registry further
advances the Sunshine Government's
pledge in its Manifesto, "Agenda For
Change," to 'develop a comprehensive
e-government platform to provide the
population with easier access to
government information and services, and
to generally increase the efficiency of
interactions between the government and
its citizens,' and more particularly to
'computerize all government departments
to ensure technology infrastructure remain
at the leading edge and can deliver reliable
government services at the lowest cost.'

The Manifesto also states that the
UPP government would 'utilize
computerized technology to provide
secure, efficient and cost effective record
keeping and retrieval.'

Antigua and Barbuda was
recently selected as a Pilot and
Demonstration Site to showcase the
benefits of an integrated land
administration and tax system, with the
focus on affordable and measurable
results. Consequently, significant progress
has been made in the modernization and
management of the Land Registry in the
Ministry of Justice, and Land and Surveys
Department, Ministry of Agriculture. This
was made possible through an alliance
established with Stewart Information
International (SII) and the Inter-American
Agency for Cooperation and Development,
Organization of American States.


Issue No. 108 March 2006

IGWG pleased with ICC
positive rating of Sir
Vivian Richards Cricket

Coordinator of the Inter-
Governmental Working Group for
Cricket World Cup 2007,
Ambassador Sir David Shoul, has
expressed great pleasure in the
positive ratings given by the
members of the International Cricket
Council who recently made a visit to
the construction site of the Sir Vivian
Richards Stadium.

A five-member team from
the ICC comprising ICC Venue
Consultant Professor Eugene van
Vuuren; ICC Pitch and Field
Consultant Andy Atkinson, Global
Cricket Corporation Broadcast
Manager Rick Jemison; ICC CWC
2007 Sports Agronomy Team Co-
ordinator Professor Jeff Artherton
and Chief Operations Officer and
Venue Development Director of ICC
CWC 2007 Don Lockerbie recently
declared that the construction of the
facility was well on schedule, while
making a tour of the stadium at North
Sound as part of the 5th ICC Venue

The ICC team met with Co-
ordinator of the Inter-Governmental
Working Group Ambassador Shoul;
CEO and Managing Director of World
Cup Antigua Inc. George Goodwin;
Venue Development Co-ordinator of
World Cup Antigua Inc. Sheon
Samuel, other members of the World
Cup Antigua Inc. and the ground staff
at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

"All of the various bodies
responsible for the successful
completion of the stadium have been
working tirelessly in ensuring that we
meet all of the deadlines set by the
ICC and ourselves. The construction

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team from CCECC has been remarkable
in their efforts to complete the job on
time," said Ambassador Shoul.

Ambassador Shoul who was
recently a part of a two man delegation
to Trinidad to negotiate the supply of
cement for the stadium said that a large
amount of the credit for the successes
being achieved at the stadium must go to
the resident Chinese Ambassador
Madam Ren Xioping whom he said has
been very instrumental in ensuring that
the various deadlines are met by the
Chinese team.

During the tour of the facility,
Venue Development Director of ICC
CWC 2007 Don Lockerbie said the ICC
officials are very satisfied with the
progress that has been made thus far
with the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium,
which is being built by Chinese workers
on a grant from the Peoples Republic of
China to the government and people of
Antigua and Barbuda.

"It is my second visit within the
last three weeks and I can honestly say
that the amount of progress that we are
seeing in the stadium is excellent. The
amount of work to date is on time and to
target. The ICC and the Cricket World
Cup 2007 organising committee are very
satisfied with what they are seeing here
today," Lockerbie said.

"There is no doubt about the
history of the stadium and there were

talks quite a few months ago
that we were concerned
about the pace of the
stadium and the
negotiations with the
Peoples Republic of China
and the LOC has worked
tirelessly to move beyond
that. We are happy to say
that reports are all
Sfavourable," he said.

Antigua and Barbuda and
the region stand to benefit
from United Nations disaster
relief fund

Antigua and Barbuda and
countries in the region stand to benefit from
the landmark US$500 million fund
launched by the United Nations recently.
The Central Emergency Relief Fund
(CERF) is designed to jump-start relief
operations in future natural and man-made
disasters and save thousands of lives that
would otherwise be lost to delay under the
current under-funded mechanism.

"It is indeed an increasingly rare
event at the United Nations to see both rich
and poor countries pledging increasingly
scarce resources for humanitarian causes,
before a major catastrophe has occurred,"
said Ambassador Dr. John W. Ashe,
Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador to the
United Nations. "And I am particularly
pleased to see that, to date, some 36
countries have pledged $256 million to the
Central Emergency Response Fund, which
is more than half of the initial target of the
fund" he said.

While the CERF was a key reform
sought by UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to ensure swifter responses to
humanitarian emergencies, with adequate
funds made available within three to four
days as opposed to up to four months or

Issue No. 108 March 2006

more under current arrangements, its
basic elements are similar to those
proposed by the Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Public
Works, Transportation and the
Environment Wilmoth Daniel, who
called for the establishment of such a
fund during his address to the
Ministerial segment of the thirteenth
session of the United Nations
Commission on Sustainable
Development in April 2005.

Mr Annan said that "The
CERF will provide a ready pool of
resources that better empower the
United Nations in funding immediate
relief efforts in the aftermath of
disasters... [and] for the international
community, the CERF is not simply a
fund; it is a statement of principle. It
is a statement that in a world of
plenty, unnecessary and avoidable
suffering is inexcusable. It is a
statement that suffering anywhere is
a threat to humanity everywhere."

UN officials have indicated
that plans are already underway to
make the first disbursements from
the Fund, with the two first
allocations going to the Horn of Africa
and Kenya drought, and to C6te
d'lvoire for humanitarian work and
the civilian population.

Also at the launch,
speakers from over 60 Member
States, many of them representing
states or regions that are frequently
hit by natural disasters, warmly
welcomed the setting up of the
CERF, emphasizing how important it
was to get rapid assistance to
emergency situations and the critical
need for funds.

The Caribbean region was
represented by Dr. Keith C. Mitchell,
Prime Minister of Grenada, who
reminded the audience of the recent
experiences within his own country

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which was devastated by two successive
hurricanes in 2004 and 2005,

"The Caribbean is among the
regions in the world most vulnerable to
natural disasters. The survival of our
economies is dependent on the
frequency and magnitude of these
events. Together, we have an estimated
population of 15.6 million inhabitants and
a 2004 estimated GDP of US$39,580
million... [Despite this] several decades
of progress can be wiped out in a matter
of hours, as was evident when Hurricane
Ivan hit Grenada in 2004, resulting in
catastrophic damage to the island," he

Ambassador Dr. John Ashe
said that the Fund would be overseen by
the UN Office for the Coordination
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which
plans to allocate up to two thirds of the
funds to rapid response measures, with
the other one third devoted to addressing
under-funded emergencies.

"In his role as manager of the
Fund, on behalf of the UN Secretary-
General, the head of OCHA will be
guided by an Advisory Group of 12
independent experts. The general public
will be able to keep track of how and
where the money is being spent by
means of a dedicated CERF website,"
Dr Ashe outlined.

RDI expands base in
Antigua and Barbuda

Regional Country Directors and
Strategic Business Partners convened in
Antigua from March 10-13 for the first
Regional Resource Development
International (RDI) meeting.

At this meeting a strategic plan
outlining "The Way Forward" in light of the
CSME and in support of RDI's educational
mission within the region was developed.

An official opening of the Local
Resource Centre was held on Sunday 12th
March 2006 at College Corner, Golden

The highlight of this activity was
the presentation of the University of
Leicester Certificate and Diploma in
Management to Mr Collie Christopher and
Mrs. Cheryl Whyte, respectively. Both
have reached yet another milestone
through "Distance Learning Education" and
this according to Ms. Cleo Henry, the
Country Director, is a true exhibit of the
invaluable educational and developmental
benefits, which can be accrued to our
people, and, by extension, to the Nation of
Antigua and Barbuda.

Resource Development
International (RDI) is an international
organization providing professional
pathways through education and learning
programmes for the development of people
and organizations worldwide.

Currently RDI operates in
numerous countries and already serves a
substantial number of students in the
Caribbean area including Antigua and

RDI works in partnership with
local, regional and international partners
with renowned British Universities and
professional bodies, in order to deliver
internationally recognized and accredited
business and management education, by
flexible methods, which include distance-
learning programmes of the highest

RDI can be assessed via the
World Wide Web at

Issue No. 108 March 2006

Probation Officer says
services needed in

Head of the Antigua and
Barbuda's Probation Office, Mrs
Junie Ruddy, recently completed a
tour of duty on Barbuda.

Mrs Ruddy travelled to
Codrington from the 6th 9th March
and said that her visit was two-fold.
"My main purpose was to attend
court, which was sitting at the time, in
addition I met with council members
to see what are their requirements of
Probation", she explained.

According to Mrs Ruddy,
from the meeting with the Barbuda
Council Members she was able to
ascertain that there is a great need
for social services on the island and
specifically the need for Probation
Officers. According to her, Barbuda
requires a full time Probation Officer
for the programme to be effective.

While attending Court in
Barbuda, she outlined that the
Magistrate had requested that three
juveniles cases be placed into her
care. These cases are expected to
come up for hearing at the next
sitting in June.

Meantime, Ruddy explained
that the services of the unit are being
fully utilized and the Courts appear to
be gaining further confidence in the

According to the Head of
the unit, there are plans to host a
Community Service Order workshop
later this year and will involve all
stakeholders involved in community

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Issue No. 108 March 2006

Ambassador Colin Murdoch

OECS representatives
discuss maritime issues at
meeting in St. Lucia

On 15th March representatives
from OECS member states met in St.
Lucia for a one-day consultation on the
maritime boundary delimitation problems
of the sub-regional grouping.

Representatives of the member
states joined and had consultations with
experts on maritime boundary
delimitation issues. Representatives of
the Canadian government were a part of
the consultations and will consider a
request for technical assistance.

Ambassador Colin Murdoch,
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, represented Antigua and

Director-General of the OECS,
Dr. Len Ishmael, highlighted in her
opening statement that maritime
boundary delimitation issues had always
been high on the agenda of the OECS
Authority; and that as early as the
second meeting of the Authority in 1982,
the OECS heads of government had
taken strategic decisions relating to the
various maritime issues facing the

member states. Dr. Ishmael indicated
that, in her view, what had been lacking
was the consistent focus of the heads of
government and the technical advice to
support decision-making.

Also at the head table and
speaking at the opening ceremony was
Canadian High Commissioner to the
OECS member states, Michael Welsh.
The Canadian diplomat emphasized that
Canada had a strategic and longstanding
interest in global ocean governance, and
that Canada recognized that there were
issues to be resolved in the Eastern
Caribbean. He pointed out that the
Canadian government was willing to be
helpful in assisting the OECS to assess the
various options.

"It must be recognized that all
OECS members are essentially maritime
states, with maritime areas many times the
size of their land areas, "stated
Ambassador Murdoch. "It is vitally
important for all of us to recognize and
defend the territorial integrity of the OECS.
Our borders are maritime borders, and we
must prevent encroachment and avoid
disadvantageous situations developing."
Murdoch pointed out that the maritime
boundary delimitation situation in the
Caribbean was very complicated.

Ambassador Murdoch further
stated that under the UN Law of the Sea
Convention, Antigua and Barbuda was an
archipelagic state and that large maritime
areas fell under Antigua and Barbuda's
jurisdiction. He said that it was in Antigua
and Barbuda's interest to defend its rights
vigorously in relation to maritime claims.

One of the issues on the
meeting's agenda was the question of the
Bird Rock, a large rock in the Eastern
Caribbean Sea not far from Montserrat and
Dominica over which Venezuela claims
sovereignty. OECS member states
contend that Venezuela uses its claim to
Bird Rock to justify large areas of

Venezuelan jurisdiction
Caribbean Sea.

in the

The feature presentation at
the one-day consultation was an
address by Professor lan Townsend-
Gault, a Canadian expert in maritime
boundary delimitation matters who
was made available through the
government of Canada.

The consultation will
formulate proposals that will be
considered by the OECS heads of
government when they meet at the
next OECS Authority meeting in June
of this year in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Mill Reef Club donates
library to Freetown
Primary School

With the opening of a new
Library on Thursday, 17th March,
students at the Freetown Primary
School are now better able to expand
their knowledge through reading and

The library, which is a
collaborative effort of the Ministry of
Education and the Mill Reef Club, is
stocked with a wide variety of books
geared at preparing the students for
life's challenges.

Annie McCabe and Sloan
Simmons members of the Mill Reef,
who were most instrumental in
getting the over 2000 books and the
furnishing for the library, looked at
the venture as one of great
importance since it will assist in the
development of students within the

In a brief ceremony Zone
Officer Idona George and Language
Art Coordinator Glenford Joseph

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Encouraged the students to utilize the
facility and to read as much as they can
since it is through reading that they will
excel in life. They were also charged with
the responsibility of taking care of the

The Mill Reef Club has on a
number of occasions contributed to the
Freetown Community, and according to
a member of the Parent/Teacher
Association Verdaline Parker, this latest
gesture has further cemented the
relationship developed between the Club
and the community.

The Ministry of Education and
the Freetown Community thanked the
Mill Reef Club and expressed the desire
for other private businesses to make
similar contributions to schools
throughout Antigua and Barbuda.

Commonwealth to assign
ICT Expert to Antigua and

Minister responsible for
Information Technology Dr Edmond
Mansoor has announced that the
Governance and Institutional
Development Division of the
Commonwealth Secretariat has agreed
to assign an ICT Expert to Antigua and
Barbuda for two years.

Dr. Mansoor outlined that the
ICT Expert will assist the government in
creating a new ICT landscape and will be
responsible for conducting national
surveys to determine e-readiness usage,
coordinating cross functional
government projects to bridge the digital
divide and also provide specialized

The Information Minister further
pointed out that the expert will also assist
government with developing and
monitoring ICT awareness

communication plans and provide project
development, systems management and
support services to the Ministry of
Information, Broadcasting and

"The government is committed to
ensuring that we develop a fully digital
society that is exposed to the latest
technology and we are delighted that the
Commonwealth Secretariat will be
providing assistance in ensuring that we
bridge the digital divide in our nation,"
noted the Minister.

He said that the government's
information technology initiatives have
already resulted in an expanded
Information Technology (IT) Centre with
added human resource in network
engineering, software development, e-
commerce, network design, and project

Dr. Mansoor noted that more than
50% of government's operations already
have an electronic component with a full
thrust towards e-government; rapid
expansion of the Government's wide area
network and the new parliament building
will be fully wired into today's technology
including wireless high-speed Internet

In addition, Minister Mansoor
stated that over 1000 computers will be
deployed within the operations of central
government over the next 18 months and
the Government will be developing a back-
up (redundancy) centre to the present IT

Issue No. 108 March 2006

Centre in keeping with international
trends. He said the redundancy
centre is a major commitment on the
part of the Government.

The government's ICT
agenda has already resulted in
Antigua and Barbuda being branded
the "ICT City of the Caribbean" by the
Commonwealth Secretariat's
regional office.

(continued from cover page)
In this regard, the
Government of Antigua and
3arbuda is committed to exploring
1l available options within the
framework of the WTO in order to
lave the United States comply with
heWTO's ruling on the provision of
cross border gambling and betting
We believe this to be a
watershed moment for the WTO-
here we find out if the WTO works
or all, or only for the most powerful.
Ne also believe it is time for the
United States administration to
translate its words into concrete
action by tangibly demonstrating
hat it truly believes in "free and fair
We remain ready to
discuss the most appropriate form
of compensation and remedies with
he United States, and I have
instructed our WTO delegation to
remain ready to engage their US
counterparts to this end."

2nd floor, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP


Don't miss the 47th International Social Service Spring Fair

Wednesday 9th and 10th May 2006
Kensington Town Hall
Hornton Street
London W8

Stalls from around the world brought to your doorstep by the
diplomatic missions of over 100 countries


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Extraordinary meeting

Ambassador Anthony Severin represented
St. Lucia.

The meeting heard presentations
from US Lt Gen H. Steven Blum who heads
the US National Guard Bureau and from
US Ambassador Mary Kramer who arrived
from Barbados for this meeting.

High on the meeting's agenda
was a review of how the partnership

RSS Council of Ministers
meet in Antigua

On the 27th March the Council
of Ministers of the Regional Security
System (RSS) gathered in Antigua and
Barbuda for an extraordinary meeting.

The ministerial representatives
flew in from across the sub-region for the
meeting which was convened under the
chairmanship of Prime Minister Baldwin
Spencer MP, who has ministerial
responsibility for national security in
Antigua and Barbuda. PM Spencer was
joined by Prime Minister Roosevelt
Skerritt of Dominica.

Other members of the
delegation of Antigua and Barbuda were
Commissioner of Police Delano
Christopher; ABDF Commanding Officer
Colonel Trevor Thomas; ONDCP
Director Mr. Alec Vanderpoole; and
Ambassador Colin Murdoch, Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign

Barbados was represented by
Joseph Atherley, Minister in the Prime
Minister's office in Barbados; while

Issue No. 108 March 2006

between the US and the RSS could
be preserved and strengthened. RSS
member countries maintain a close
working relationship with US
authorities on military and security

The RSS Council also
reviewed the Council's financial and
administrative matters, with a view to
being able to support the security
operations in a sustained way.

"While I obviously cannot go
into too much detail, key decisions
were taken at this meeting," PM
Spencer said. "We need to further
review our strategic direction, and to
ensure that the security requirements
of Cricket World Cup 2007 and
beyond are put in place."

PM Spencer pointed out
that with so many territories of
metropolitan powers located in the
Caribbean; it made sense for RSS
member states to partner with the
US, the UK, France, the Netherlands
and others in developing appropriate
security arrangements for the region.

US Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum who heads the US National Guard Bureau and US
Ambassador Mary Kramer addressing the meeting

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Spencer chairing the RS,
in Antigua and Barbuda


Cuba to assist Antigua
and Barbuda in cutting
energy cost

A Cuban delegation led by
Ambassador Rojas paid a courtesy call
on Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and
updated him on progress in assisting the
country to cut its energy cost.

Ambassador Rojas brought
greetings from President Fidel Castro
and introduced the two other members of
his team, a social worker and engineer.
He explained that Cuba was developing
many energy-saving measures which
had been introduced in the Cuban
society. He noted that Cuba intended to
share the results of the programme with
Antigua and Barbuda and other
CARICOM countries.

It was pointed out that the team,
working along with Antigua Public
Utilities Authority, had carried out
research in Antigua and Barbuda relating
to energy consumption. The Cuban
proposal is to replace 215, 000 bulbs in
Antigua and Barbuda with energy saving
light bulbs. Cuba will supply the bulbs
and a team of social workers to assist in
the implementation.

It is expected that the project will
save EC$11, 000 per day in fuel costs, or
EC$4 million per annum.

PM Baldwin Spencer
commended the team for the fantastic job
done during the research phase of the
project. He explained that when CARICOM
leaders met President Castro of Cuba and
President Chavez of Venezuela in Jamaica
some months ago, the proposal was
discussed. He indicated that the team's
efforts had the full support of the
government of Antigua and Barbuda and
that government would work with the
Cuban team to bring the project to fruition
as soon as possible.

The Cuban team indicated that
they also met with and briefed Deputy
Prime Minister Wilmoth Daniel and
General Manager of APUA Leon Symister
on the project.

They explained that the cost
savings would be immediate, and that
Cuba was ready to implement the project
as soon as Antigua and Barbuda was

Also attending the meeting with
the Prime Minister were Mr. David Palovich
of the Cuban Embassy, Pedro Alfonso,
Head of the Cuban Medical Team;

Issue No. 108 March 2006

Ambassador Colin Murdoch and
Ambassador Bruce Goodwin.

Antigua and Barbuda
Highlighted at Curacao
Expo 06

Antigua and Barbuda made
full use of the opportunity to market
its many assets to the consumers
present at vacation expo Curacao

Staff of the Marketing
Department of the Ministry of
Tourism took time out to present
Antigua and Barbuda, its festivals,
beaches and other special tourist
products to over 4900 persons who
attended the show.

Marketing Manager for the
Caribbean region Joyce Henry and
Public Relations Officer Annette
Michael, relayed that the country
could not have been presented to
Curacao at a more opportune time.

The consensus of persons
visiting the Antiguan and Barbudan
stall was that they were tired of the
metropolitan areas of the world and
would like to indulge a bit more in
whatsoever the Caribbean has to
offer, particularly Antigua.

Airlift, was a major area of
concern, and Caribbean Star Airlines
answered the call as it will begin
flights to Curacao in June direct from
its hub in Antigua.

Although a contingent from
the Carnival Office did not present at
this showing, flyers and DVD
presentations were made and this
festival peaked interests as well.

2nd floor, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP

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Public Relations Officer
Annette Michael, made use of the PR
opportunities presented, mainly with
Trois Paradise a local radio station in
Curacao, and the Flamingo
Broadcasting System whose on-air
personalities strolled the stalls of the
Curacao Vacation expo.

Nationals' Corner

Mr Oliver Joseph of
Haringey North London recently
celebrated his 90th Birthday in style
with families and friends from all
over the country. Many fond
memories were shared by all the
happy guests as they listened to
each speaker reminding everyone
else of the massive contribution that
Oliver had made over the years and
the impact he has had on the lives
of so many people throughout
the years.

A long serving policeman
back home in Antigua, Mr Joseph
was known for being the most
friendly policeman ever. Perhaps
this is due to the well-known fact that
no arrest in his distinguished police
career has been recorded.

Grand and great grand
children also had their stories
to tell about their experience
with granddad.

May you live to see many,
many more happy years,
Mr Joseph.

PM Spencer congratulates
Moravian Church
on 250th Anniversary

Prime Minister Baldwin
Spencer has commended the Moravian
Church for its "unparalleled" role in

Issue No. 108 March 2006

shaping the minds of the people of Antigua
and Barbuda spiritually and educationally.

The country's leader was
speaking at the Anniversary Banquet of the
Church which celebrated its 250th
Anniversary in Antigua and Barbuda.

"I am grateful to the Church for
this. Let us continue to work
together to make our nation
more considerate, more
conscious and a better place for
every citizen and resident"

"The importance of education was quite
clear to the Moravians. Through their work
in Antigua and Barbuda and in the
Caribbean, the early Moravian
Missionaries demonstrated that education
is the knowledge of putting one's potentials
to maximum use," PM Spencer said.

He noted that the Moravians'
work in Education, from under the Sandbox
Tree to over fourteen schools and a college
in Antigua and Barbuda by 1888, provided

that great hope for the survival of our
people and for the forward progress
of civilization.

"I am deeply honoured to
share this momentous occasion with
you, since the Moravian Church in
Antigua and Barbuda embodies,
espouses and promotes true
Christian values and continues to
contribute greatly to the character of
our society. The work of the church
as a spiritual guide, influencing the
moral principles essential to building
strong communities, is deserving of
our nation's enduring gratitude," the
country's leader stated.

Prime Minister Spencer also
noted that the Moravian Church has
been a valuable partner to the
government, in tackling the problems
with young people. "I am grateful to
the Church for this. Let us continue to
work together to make our nation
more considerate, more conscious
and a better place for every citizen
and resident," he told the large
gathering at the Royal Antigua

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