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Barbuda Land Act suit to be heard in January 2019

The government is preparing itself to challenge a law suit that has been brought against it by several members of the Barbuda Council.

The suit which was filed in the High Court on October 18th

It challenges two pieces of legislation which make the long standing communal practice of land ownership on Barbuda null and void.

The amendment was met with much opposition from the Barbuda Council when it was repealed in parliament earlier this year and replaced by the Crown Lands Regulation Amendment Act 2018.

The chairman of the Barbuda Council, Trevor Walker said then that they would contest the government’s decision to pass this bill.

AUDIO – Kamalie on land act

The lawsuit for the Barbuda Land Act is expected to be heard for the first time on January 15th 2019.

Attorney at law Justin Simon QC has moved on behalf of Trevor Walker, Wayde Burton, Mackenzie Frank and the rest of the Barbuda Council to file a lawsuit against the Antigua and Barbuda Government.

The suit claims that the changes which were made to the Barbuda Land Act 2007 are illegal.

They are therefore asking the court to maintain that land in Barbuda which is vested in the Governor General, be held on behalf of Barbuda people and that these lands be once again owned in common by the people of Barbuda.

They say the Crown Lands Regulation Bill violates sections of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, which negate the independence of the Barbuda Council in the exercise of its duties, powers, and functions.

But Attorney General Steadroy Cutie Benjamin tells ZDK their claims hold no basis. In fact he says he is surprised by the lawsuit which he claims are without any merit.

The government will be represented by Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan and Carla Brookes Harris, the Deputy Solicitor General.

CCJ Can Wait group issues call for more CCJ education

The recently formed CCJ Can Wait Group is calling out the chairman of the National Coordinating Committee on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry and Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

During a press conference on Wednesday, chairman of the group Attorney-at-law Kenny Kentish singled out the ambassador and the prime minister for rushing the referendum.

AUDIO – mannix on CCJ can wait

In his final comment though, the CCJ Can Wait chairman asked the electorate to vote on referendum day whether they choose to vote yes or no on the issue.

Chinese doctors begin medical treatment in Barbuda

A team of eight medical Chinese doctors from the Ark Peace made their first trip to Barbuda earlier today.

They began assessing and treating almost 120 patients who have registered for operations in Barbuda.

The Director of the Ship Guo BaoFeng, through his translator Jiang Shan gave an update on the work being done at the Hannah Thomas Hospital.

AUDIO – translator-on-Barbuda-trip(1)

The specialists brought with them a number of portable equipment from the hospital ship.

AUDIO – translator-on-Barbuda-trip(2)

Meanwhile, another team of Chinese specialists treated 96 patients at the Care project on Wednesday.

Between Monday and midday Thursday, doctors treated more than 2,096 patients.

These include house checks for 49 people and auxiliary services like CT scans, DR and ultra sound for 1418.

Shan outlines the most prevalent cases they have had to treat.

AUDIO – translator-on-Barbuda-trip(3)

 

Major Signing Ceremony between Ministry of Health and 3 Public Schools

Three Schools to receive up to Fifty Thousand US Dollars in grants from the Department of Environment which were donated by the Government of Italy.
The Schools are to use the funds for Environmental Management Systems as well as Renewable Energy Systems called Grid Interactive……
The institutions of learning will also be required to produced educational campaign to help the public to understand the importance of renewable energy systems in a bid to enlighten the population on the need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel which is the greatest contributor of Greenhouse Gases in the world.
Today’s (Oct.25.2018) signing ceremony took place at the office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment Mrs Joan Carrot who signed on the dotted line with officials from the Seventh Day Adventist School, The Wesleyan Junior Academy and the St Peters Academy.

The future of LIAT once again being compromised

Shareholder governments of regional airline LIAT have found themselves once again having to review plans for the viability of the airline.

This follows an announcement by Barbados that it would not be able to pay its full share to support the operations of LIAT.

Barbados’ current financial crisis had forced it into an IMF Stand-by Program to provide financial aid of US$290 million.

The government of Barbados is the largest shareholder government, holding 51 percent of its shares and approximately 60 percent of its human resource.

This week’s cabinet spokesperson, Melford Nicholas says the governments of the region have to now consider a restructuring plan.

AUDIO – Melford on LIAT(1)

The current position on LIAT came from a recent shareholder meeting in Barbados, this week.
Following that meeting, a strong case was made for the non-paying OECS countries to assume part ownership of LIAT so that the burden can be spread among all those countries that benefit from a subsidized airline.
A shutdown of LIAT will mean hundreds of job losses and indirect fall outs of other companies across the OECS
AUDIOMelford on LIAT(2)

 

HIV on the rise among young people

The Minister of Health has reported an increase in the cases of HIV.

This week’s cabinet reports suggest that while Antigua and Barbuda is the first Caribbean country to eliminate T.B., cases of HIV are on the rise from reckless sexual activity by young people

It was reported that difficulty to access condoms resulted in young boys and girls experimenting with unprotected sex, and infecting partners.

The Cabinet said several solutions were considered to tackle this challenging phenomenon, including examining the methodologies employed by similarly challenged countries.

No decision was taken; rather, a discussion between the ministry of Health and Ministry of Education officials will be undertaken on the best methods to employ going forward to tackle this growing issue.

Head of Police Request Proper Accommodation for Barbuda Officers

The acting Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney is asking for urgent assistance to house police officers in Barbuda in proper accommodation.

The officers on the sister isle were previously housed at the fisheries complex, after hurricane Maria destroyed the police station and majority of the structures on the island.

The police however did not stay at that complex for long, since Barbuda Council members alongside Barbudans protested for their removal due to the upcoming fishing season.

Rodney also told state TV that nothing much has been done to refurbish the police station on Barbuda.

AUDIO – Atlee on Barbuda Police(1)

The police have since been relocated from the fisheries complex to the island’s museum.

Currently police officers are being stationed in Barbuda on two and three week rotation periods. But Rodney says this is not an ideal situation for a police unit.

In addition, there is no inspector since the house rented for one was damaged by the hurricane and has not yet been restored.

AUDIO – Atlee on Barbuda Police(2)

 

Chet retains sit as president of the NOC

The National Olympics Committee (NOC) has finally elected new executive after one year of stalling.

On Monday night Chet Greene was returned to the post of President of the National Olympics Committee (NOC) for a second consecutive term. He went up against Dr. Philmore Benjamin who got only 14 votes to Greene’s 22.

One of Greene’s initial contenders Neil Cochrane was given the position of First Vice President, while Phillip Isaac received the post of 2nd Vice President, followed by 3rd Vice President Thomas Greenaway. The Treasurer is Yolanda Samuel. 

Cliff Williams the NOC General Secretary who said he was relieved that the process is over says it is now time to move the country ahead in sports.

The impasse which previously affected the election however is still not resolved. Representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were therefore invited to sit in on the elections.

AUDIO – Williams on NOC(1)

Williams explains what exactly caused the hold up in choosing an executive back in December 2017.

AUDIO – Williams on NOC(2)

Williams said he was appointed to rectify the situation, but sadly an agreement could not be made.

AUDIO – Williams on NOC(3)

On Monday night, there was a vote to allow the Fencing Association to participate in the elections. It therefore meant that all 18 national federations participated in the AGM.

Other members of the National Olympics Committee include Franklyn Braithwaite,
Karen Joseph, Leonard Mussington, Charles Bellot, Jo-Ann Small,
Daryll Matthew and Fitzroy Quinland

Arrival of Climate Change in Antigua will worsen drought conditions

Climate change has not yet begun to affect the water sources in Antigua and Barbuda, so says a recently published paper by Herrera et al – a geophysical research letter.

The paper has shown that climate change was not a factor in the 2013-2016 Antigua drought – the worst for Antigua on record, dating back to 1928.

The year 2015 was the driest on record dating back to, at least, 1871 or over 145 years. It was a year without a wet season.

Deputy Director of the Antigua Met Services and Climatologist Dale Destin says before that paper was published there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.

AUDIO – Dale on climate change(1)

But if not climate change, what is drying out water sources across the country?

Well the paper suggest that it is mainly due to environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity or what is referred to as anthropogenic greenhousegas concentrations.

The results indicate that humancaused warming contributed to 15–17% of drought severity by increasing evapotranspiration rates and accounted for 7% of land area under drought across the Caribbean.

What is even more alarming is that the fact that climate change did not affect the drought situation in Antigua only means that there is much room for worsened conditions.

AUDIO – Dale on climate change(2)

Herrera’s research made use of a recently developed highresolution selfcalibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index data set, to find these results.

Between 2013 and 2016, virtually, the entire region experienced a PanCaribbean drought, which was unprecedented since at least 1950.

This drought affected the entire region and pushed more than two million people into food insecurity.

The effects were particularly serious in Haiti, where one million people (10% of its population) were severely affected by food insecurity and required immediate assistance.

The FAO even reported that over 50% of crop in Haiti were lost due to the drought.

Changes to Advanced Passenger Bill 2018 passes in Lower House

The Advanced Passenger Amendment Bill 2018 has made it pass the committee stage of the Lower House and is heading to the Senate for approval.

The legislation is intended to harmonise how passenger information is shared with OECS and CARICOM States, with a view to identifying persons who may pose risks to the security of the individual islands.

Changes to the 2016 Bill, after the Legal Affairs Committee of the OECS conducted a review of the 2016 act.

Immigration Minister, E.P Chet Greene says the amendments change the description of a watch list and the competent authority responsible for giving information on the movements of criminals including terrorists and criminal deportees.

Captains, masters or agents of any (private or commercial) aircraft/vessel now have the responsibility to pass on passenger information on passengers who threaten border security.

AUDIO – Chet on passenger bill(1)

The amendment will also make it an offence for a passenger to intentionally refuse to give up information when asked by the competent authorities.

As part of the changes, any order made by the Minister to amend the law will require a negative resolution to both houses of parliament.

AUDIO – Chet on passenger bill(2)

The changes are expected to better manage the maritime and air spaces in the region.