Category Archives: Lifestyles

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.

New Health Care Services to be offered in 2019

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has announced an initiative that is sure to change health care on the island.

Come 2019, the Health Minister says residents will no longer have to go abroad to receive special eye care treatment.

He says this sis as a result of a one million dollar equipment donation from the Chinese group Brightness Journey which has placed the Ministry in a favourable position to carry out its own operations.

AUDIO – Molwyn on eye care(1)

The Ministry he says is already in negotiation with health care administrators in the region.

AUDIO – Molwyn on eye care(2)

Joseph was speaking at the opening ceremony for the arrival of the Chinese Naval Hospital Ship – the Ark Peace.

Police continue to probe suspected murder-suicide

The police are continuing to probe the circumstances that led to the discovery of two corpses in the heights of Falmouth in English Harbour.

The body of Bharat Kumar and Latoya Craig were found at the home of Kumar’s father, shortly after Craig’s relatives reported to the media that they were missing.

According to Craig’s mother, Jocelyn King, she had last seen her daughter the Monday afternoon, days before the incident.

When she inquired about her daughter later that week, she was informed that Kumar (the girl’s ex-boyfriend) had asked her to do a cleaning job in English Harbour on Tuesday. Craig was reportedly accompanied by her three year old son Lanso.

King said she made several calls to her daughter’s cell phone but there was no answer. She also called the place where her daughter was supposed to be and was told that they never arrived there.

Moments before news broke of the discovery, family members confirmed for ZDK that police had located Lanso and had transported him to the hospital where he was greeted by his father and aunt.

The two who were previously reported missing were pronounced dead later that day.

No official statement has been released by the police, but sources close to the investigation, say the 3 year old boy was found in the car outside the house where his mother was killed.

Festival of Choirs opens 37th Independence celebration

The Festival of Choirs officially opened the 2018 Independence activities on Sunday.

The annual Festival featured 12 acts including the St Peters Anglican Church Senior Choir, the National Children’s Choir, the Antigua Community Players, Expression, the National Choir, the East Side Melodious Singers, the Holy Family Cathedral Choir, the Combined boys Choir of St Joseph’s Academy and the Antigua Grammar School, the Immigration Choral, the National Youth Choir and the Holy Family Steel Pan Orchestra.

AUDIO – singing

The choirs delivered a grand finale with a performance “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”

To begin the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryl Matthew paid special focus to this year’s theme “Antigua and Barbuda Forward Together”.

AUDIO – Daryl on independence

The Festival of Choirs was held at the Holy Family Cathedral.

It celebrates 37 years of independence

Woman asks for assistance to find missing relatives

Joyceln King is asking for assistance in locating her 27 year old daughter Latoya Craig and her 3 year old grandson Lanso Jones.

King tells ZDK she last saw them on Monday afternoon heading home to Clare Hall.

She said she last heard that her daughter and had left with her ex-boyfriend (Bharat Kumar) to go on a cleaning job at English Harbour but they never arrived.

AUDIO – King on missing persons

CID has since taken a report of the missing relatives.

Antigua and Barbuda Level Up In Global Passport Power Ranking

According to the latest results of the Henley Passport Index, Antigua and Barbuda has climbed the Global Passport Ranking to a score of 149— up one point compared to Q3.

The small island state ranked 2nd in the Eastern Caribbean region, securing the 27th place globally, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival.

On the whole, Eastern Caribbean countries far outperform their peers in the greater Caribbean region: Jamaica, for example, is ranked 61st, Dominican Republican is ranked 75th, Cuba is ranked 76th, and Haiti is ranked 89th. The main differentiator is access to the Schengen Area, which all the Eastern Caribbean states enjoy.

Holders of the Antiguan passport enjoy visa free travel to 150 destinations, including the UK and the countries of the Schengen area.

Commenting on the recent findings, Gaye Hechme, Director of Henley & Partners Antigua and Barbuda, says:

We are pleased that our passport power continues to climb and compete against major global states. While we celebrate this small milestone, we must however, increase our efforts to score higher, in order to benefit from the opportunities attached to passport power.”

She added: I am confident that Henley and Partners, together with Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP Unit will continue to create further international ties to strengthen our passport power.”

St. Kitts holds the strongest passport in the Eastern Caribbean region, and the 26th strongest passport in the world, with 151 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Saint Lucia has climbed from 142 in Q3 to 146 , ranking 3rd in the Eastern Caribbean region and 31st worldwide.

Grenada’s score has risen from 141 to 144, and the Grenadian passport is currently the 33rd strongest in the world. At the bottom of the Eastern Caribbean regional ranking is Dominica, which sits in 37th place globally.

Education Director addresses accusation of strip search

The Ministry of Education is investigating reports of an alleged “Strip and Search” which occurred at the All Saints Secondary School last Thursday.

According to an article in the Daily Observer, Teachers at the All Saints Secondary School say they were violated by police, when over a dozen of them were stripped searched after a colleague reported to police that over the $4,500 went missing from her bag.

The article claims that when lawmen arrived at the school after classes had been dismissed for the day, 14 teachers, who were still at work, were stripped searched by a group of police officers.

The Director of Education Clare Browne in response to the article promised to launch an investigation.

He explains that he was made aware of the incident by the principal of the school.

AUDIO – Browne-on-strip-and-search

The Director of Education has since contacted officials of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers and the Acting Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney who have both said they will investigate the matter.

According to Browne, the Commissioner said he had no knowledge of the incident. .

Efforts to reach Rodney via phone were unsuccessful.

Human traffickers face up to one million in fines

Human traffickers and those who facilitate the offence can face up to 20 years in prison, and one million dollars in fines, once an amendment to the Trafficking in Persons Prevention (Amendment) Bill has been passed in the Senate.

This was the first law to be debated when members of the Lower House met this morning (Thursday). The Bill successfully made it pass the committee stage, with little debate and no objections.

During his contribution to the bill, Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin explained that it is intended to impose fines and lengthy sentences on individuals found trafficking persons to and from Antigua and Barbuda.

AUDIO – AG on trafficking 1

Once a person is convicted of the offence, they face a fine of up to $400,000 AND up to 20 years in prison.

The Attorney General went on to explain the other changes that are to be made to the law on human trafficking.

AUDIO – AG on trafficking 2

In the law, there are also special penalties when the trafficked person is a child. The fine for such an offence is a fine of up to one million dollars and a prison sentence for up to 25 years.

This also applies in cases where minors are held against their will for sexual purposes.

Benjamin says the act also speaks to the offence of debt bondage.

AUDIO – AG on trafficking 3

A person who fails to give a police officer, conducting a search, access to computerised data can be charged, and if convicted, can be jailed for two years and pay a fine of $50,000.

Fines will also be imposed on individuals who move trafficked persons to escape the law. These individuals, upon conviction, face five years in jail and a fine of $150,000.

A person who has no lawful authority, but discloses information he acquires in the course of his duties, will face similar penalties with a fine of $10,000, if their disclosure leads to the identification of a trafficked person or witness.

This includes persons who work as investigators in various cases.

The original bill on human trafficking was passed in 2010.

Other bills including; the Sentence Reform Bill, the Drug Court Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders Bill, the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill and the Advanced Passenger Information Amendment Bill were read for the first time today (Thursday).