Antigua and Barbuda moves forward with the legalisation of small quantities of marijuana as Cabinet has agreed to send a draft law to Parliament for its first reading.
According to Telecommunication Minister Melford Nicholas while speaking during Thursday Cabinet briefing, the legislation will cause all fines for the possession of 5 grammes of marijuana or less to be eliminated.
Cabinet is of the view that the cost of pursuing convictions for such tiny amounts is very expensive. It further agreed that young males are also made to have criminal records that impede employment opportunities and eliminate them from acquiring visas to at least one large country.
Minister Nicholas said that the move is to ensure that young males are not criminalized for a failure of judgment that follows them all the days of their lives is not fair.
In April of 2015 during the launch of the Caribbean Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, The Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall made the call for the government and other Commonwealth Caribbean Countries to join Jamaica in decriminalising possession of smalls of marijuana.
Staff at the Urlings Fisheries Complex will now be able to carry out their daily functions in comfort, thanks to a donation of an air conditioning unit, by real estate company Stanhope Sheppard.
During the handing over ceremony on Tuesday, Vice President of Stanhope Sheppard, Fitzmaurice Christian noted that it has always been the company’s policy to give back to the communities it serves.
Manager of the Fisheries Complex Wesley Simon, said that the donation was timely given the high humidity been felt in the country over the past few weeks. He noted that it is almost 10 years now since there has been a functioning AC unit at the complex.
Also on hand for the presentation was Member of Parliament for the area, the Hon. Samantha Marshall who’s also Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture Lands and Fisheries. She commended Stanhope Sheppard for being great a corporate citizens. She noted that the company has always been on board as far as community development is concerned.
The unit will be installed by the Public Works Department.
Statistics coming out of the AIDS Secretariat has revealed an alarming number of HIV cases for the first quarter of 2016.
That is according to the AIDS program Manager Delcora Williams who indicated that 21 new cases have been confirmed for the months of January, February and March, three of which are pregnant women.
Williams said the next step for the Secretariat is to educate these mothers on the importance of treatment not only for themselves but for the safety of their babies.
The AIDS Program Manager said that a 3-day workshop is currently in progress which will ensure that infected mothers get the necessary information which will avoid the transmission of HIV from a mother to her baby.
The Mother to Child HIV Prevention Unit started in 1999 and so far 81 HIV positive mothers have been treated with 74 babies coming out HIV negative and only 7 positive.
Antigua and Barbuda’s up and coming track star Miguel Francis returned home on Monday after major success at regional meets.
Francis recently participated in the Cayman Islands invitational where he outran his competitors in a solid 20.16 seconds in the 200 meters event.
Also returning home was Tahir Walsh who competed at an Invitational meet in Orlando clocking a personal best of 10.42 in the men’s 100 meters.
Senior sprinters Daniel Bailey and Cejhae Green also returned home from the Cayman Islands.
Francis, Walsh, Bailey and Green are members of the 4×100 meter relay team who have provisionally qualified for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
The recent news of LIAT’s CEO David Evans resignation has still not been confirmed by LIAT officials.
Reports reaching ZDK news revealed that Evan’s resignation was offered during a contentious meeting with the Board of Directors on Thursday.
Aviation Minister Robin Yearwood who was also reluctant to comment on the issue indicated that the airline officials have decided to avoid public comments on the matter until discussions are held in full.
ZDK news understands that an emergency meeting with the Board of Directors is schedule for Wednesday of this week where matters surrounding the CEO’s resignation will be discussed.
David Evans was appointed as LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer in April of 2014.
Assistant Commissioner of Police McLean Hunte has called for an amendment to be made to the traffic law which gives owners of motor vehicles left abandoned on any road or any parcel of land, seven days to have them removed.
According to section 84 of the Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Cap 460 of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda, Where it appears to the Traffic Commissioner that the land on which a motor vehicle is abandoned as aforesaid, is occupied by any person, the Traffic Commissioner shall give him seven days notice, in writing that it is proposed to remove the vehicle in pursuance of subsection (1).
However according to Commissioner Hunte an amendment need to be made as persons have continued to disregard the law.
The Traffic Cop said that his department will be working alongside the Central Board of Health and the Solid waste department to deal with these abandoned vehicles on the street as they are also a major cause of some Health Hazards.
Meantime the Police will be clamping down on persons who continue to drive with defective headlights particularly at night as these practices are very dangerous to the driving public.
After the distress call by a former worker of the Antigua Port Authority calling for a better pay out of outstanding monies.
Chairman of the Port Authority Mary Clair Hurst called in on ZDK’s Breakfast programme Your Views this morning to address the situation. She said that the Port Authority is doing it’s very best to ensure that the workers receive their monies.
Hurst said that that the current payment plan may not be as much to some individuals but the authority is doing the best that it can given its current financial position.
‘A thousand dollars to her may sound as if its a little but the cheque that I wrote at the Port Authority for the Security Guards who were dismissed was $78,000. We are trying, $78,000 in a organisation that is struggling, its a lot.’
The outstanding payment to the former workers dates back to 2004 under the United Progressive Party’s tenure.
Following a meeting on Monday, bus and taxi operators have decided to pressure the government with a number of demands including the lowering of fuel prices at the pumps.
Both the taxi and bus associations were adamant that the $1 reduction in gasoline and diesel was insufficient and something must be done about the prices.
In response to the demands the Government’s Chief of Staff has disclosed that a reduction in fuel prices may not be possible at present due to inherited dept obligations.
Last month the government mulled plans to engage Bus and Taxi operators in efforts to have them lower their fares due to the recent reduction in the price of gasoline and diesel at the pumps which came into effect on February 1st.
But the associations indicated that they cannot afford to absorb any additional cost as it would be detrimental to their businesses. They also reported that public transportation operators are paying too much in ABST and have no way of recovering such funds.