Category Archives: Regional

Met office issues small craft advisory

Small craft advisory is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, the rest of the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands valid until Thursday morning.

Hazardous seas, due to fresh winds, are expected to be a threat to life and property of mariners.

Winds: East-northeast at 22 to 37 km/h or 12 to 20 knots with frequent strong gusts peaking near 52 km/h
or 28 knots.

Waves/seas: 1.5 to 2.5 metres or 5 to 8 feet, occasionally reaching 3 metres or 10 feet.

Locations (to be) affected: Open waters, mainly on the windward side of the islands.

Timing: Until Thursday morning.

Impacts (possible/likely/expected): Loss of life at sea; injuries to mariners; financial losses; disruption of fisheries and scarcity of fish products and disruption to marine transportation.

Precautionary/preparedness actions: A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots and or seas (mainly wind waves) of 7 feet or greater are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions to small craft.

Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions.

Please continue to monitor.

Regional law enforcement on the lookout for shooting suspect

Law enforcement in Antigua and Barbuda has alerted its regional counterparts to be on the lookout for Calvin “Burga” James, even as they say they no information which may suggest that Burga has left the state

Acting police commissioner, Atlee Rodney says local authorities have already been deployed in Burga’s search.

Rodney explains why local law enforcement agents have been unable to apprehend the man.

AUDIO – Commissioner on Burga [1]

Calvin Burga James is wanted in connection with two shooting deaths and one serious injury.

He is accused of killing two women (one of whom was his niece) and shooting his nephew.

The acting commissioner says they continue to appeal to Burga to surrender himself.

AUDIO – Commissioner on Burga [2]

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits Haiti

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck near Haiti last night killing at least 10 people, Haiti’s civil protection agency reports.

135 people were injured and are currently hospitalised, the agency wrote on Twitter.

A crisis cabinet has been created to coordinate all emergency responses to the earthquake, according to Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant.

“Damage has been recorded mainly in the Far North. All my sympathies to the victims. The executive at the highest level is mobilized to provide appropriate answers. I call on the population to be cautious and calm”, he said on twitter.

President Jovenel Moïse also tweeted that civil protection workers are already working to assist people in affected areas.

The quake was about 11 miles northwest of the city of Port-de-Paix. It was only 7.2 miles deep, according to the USGS.

There was no tsunami warning in effect following the quake, which was felt across the country.

Damage and injuries were mostly in the northwest region of the island, where two minor aftershocks were also felt, the agency said.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 220,000 to 300,000 in January 2010.

PS of Passport Office Dismisses Online Blank Passports Allegations

Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister which is inclusive of the passport office has responded to online allegations which place at least one Antiguan and Barbudan Minister in possession of blank valid Antiguan and Barbudan passports.

Two days ago, an online article was posted by “WantedSA” entitled “BLANK CARIBBEAN PASSPORTS IN BULK REMAIN A PROBLEM FOR COMPLIANCE”.

The article made a daring allegation that former Minister of Tourism & Investment, Asot Michael, after being detained in London for questioning about allegations that he accepted bribes from a UK national, was found with a number of blank valid Antigua and Barbuda passports.

The news brings unwanted attention to the country’s passport as it complicate the tasks of compliance officers charged with identifying, and rejecting, bogus methods of identification at account opening, not to omit increasing serious terrorist financing threats.

During an interview with state media the Ministry’s PS Jocelyn Greene, completely dismissed the allegations.

Greene said that there is no such thing as a blank yet valid passport. She says a passport is only valid unless it is personalized and is given validation in terms of issuance and expirations dates.

When asked of the possibility of fraudulent information being inserted into a blank passport to be used by the fraudster, the Permanent Secretary says it would still not be valid in Antigua and Barbuda’s jurisdiction.

Greene said while she was concerned after hearing of the article, she did not take it seriously because she knows that the allegations was highly unlikely. She noted that there is strict security process after the book is printed and brought into the country to when it is issued to eligible individuals.

She assured Antigua and Barbuda’s international partner’s that the issuance of the nation’s passport is without corruption.

Meantime, Attorney-at-Law Anthony Astaphan QC also dismissed the allegations and further expressed his disappointment in the opposition the United Progressive Party (UPP) for posting the allegations on social media.

Well-Known Business Woman Charged With Human Trafficking

Police have formally charged Cheryl Thompson of Paradise View, the owner and proprietor of Jam Dung Night Club with four counts of Human Trafficking.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a joint operation was conducted on two separate establishments, Jam Dung Night Club and Wendy’s nightclub in St. Johns.

Thompson, along with four others were arrested and taken into custody and questioned in connection with allegations of Human Trafficking after a total of 19 potential victims were identified.

Police reports notes that several of the potential victims were questioned and released pending further investigations while others who were confirmed as suspected human trafficking victims were placed in protective care.

Thompson is expected to appear before the court sometime Today.

Meantime, the females who are all Jamaican nationals will be receiving care and support from the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Secretariat. The rescue mission conducted by the joint team targeted the establishments based on information of possible unlawful activities relating to human trafficking and other offences.

The alleged offences occurred between November 30th, 2017 and February 9th, 2018.

Meantime Minister responsible for the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Secretariat, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Public Safety & Labour, the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin praised the good work of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Committee and commended their efforts as well as the work of the joint task force in its attempt to rid the country of the scourge of human trafficking.

Minister Benjamin, who recently reiterated in parliament that human trafficking is an abhorrent act that Antigua and Barbuda will not tolerate within its shores, also assured the public that the human trafficking laws in Antigua and Barbuda will be further strengthened to prevent the problem from escalating.

Sir Lester Officially Retires From Active Politics

After 40 years of service to the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, Former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird has formally announced his retirement from active politics.

Sir Lester who is one of Antigua and Barbuda National Hero’s and still the sitting member of parliament in the St John’s Rural East constituency made known his retirement which will take effect after his current term, during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of representatives.

He said that failing health and a lack of mobility have contributed to his decision to step down.

Sir Lester says that regardless of his retirement he will remain available to the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. He further endorsed his niece Maria Bird-Browne as the candidate to move the St John’s Rural East Constituency forward.

Sir Lester has been an elected member of parliament since 1971 to present except for the period of 2004 to 2009.

China Grants Antigua & Barbuda EC$41 Million

The government of Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China on Thursday signed an EC$41 million agreement to expand a school and build two community centres here in the country.

The Honourable Prime Minister Gaston Browne joined with the Ambassador of China to sign an Economic & Technology Cooperation Agreement worth 100 million Remnimbis or EC 41 million.

According to Lionel Hurst, the Government’s Chief of Staff 27 million of the 41 will be allocated to expand the University Campusin Five Island by constructing additional classrooms, dorms and a lecture theatre.

Hurst told ZDK News that an indoor basketball court has also been targeted.

He said that the government also intends to utilize funds create approximately 12 acres of new land to expand the port.

Cuban workers arrive in Barbuda to help repair structures

As work continues to slowly progress on the sister isle, a team of 25 Cuban engineers and construction workers have join the crew to assist with repairs on structures in Barbuda that were damaged during Hurricane Irma in September.

The Cubans, who arrived in Barbuda on Tuesday are expected to be on the sister-isle for a month and will be working with Barbudans, personnel from Antigua and aid agencies on the ground.

According to the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), the workers will be repairing established priority buildings like the airport terminal and critical facilities, and homes that have the least damage. These homes should be owned by Barbudans, who were living in them at the time of the hurricane.

Two hundred and fifty-seven structures received minimal damage and have been categorized as Levels One and Two. Level One properties received minor damages and are still habitable while Level Two buildings received some damages to roof, windows, walls and doors but are habitable after repairs.

The Barbuda Council will facilitate the identification of those persons who would return to Barbuda while their homes are under repair.

Antigua and Barbuda Welcomes Four Cruise Vessels

Tourism stakeholders welcomed four cruise vessels to the St. John’s harbour on Tuesday which brought thousands of visitors to the nation’s shores.

One of the vessels the Mein Shift 6 was making its inaugural call to Antigua’s port after detouring from St. Maarten because of the damage to the island’s port.

It is not the first time this cruise line has visited the islands port however the Mein Shift 6, is the German based line’s newest edition and is one of the most luxurious vessel of its line.

A brief welcoming ceremony was held aboard the ship upon the request of the vessels captain where ministry officials and the ships management exchanged brief remarks along with plaques and tokens of appreciation.

The captain said he chose Antigua as its new port of call because English Harbour was one of his favorite ports in the Caribbean.

Public Relations Officer for the Tourism Ministry Samoya Kirby said Antigua and Barbuda was elated to have welcomed the vessel to its shores. She said the ceremony was done to ensure that cruise members and guests experience a warm welcome on behalf of all Caribbean islands.

Antiguan Appointed to Head Regional Immigration Grouping

An Antiguan has been newly appointed as the Regional Liaison Officer for Border Security at the CARICOM Level.

Speaking on the Appointment, Ms. Joycelyn Hughes from the Immigration Department explained how she was chosen for the position.

Hughes disclosed that she will be in charge of various CARICOM projects that relate to border security within the region, and gave brief background on her experience.

Ms. Joycelyn Hughes who previously served in the capacity of Deputy Chief Immigration Officer will assume the post on Monday.