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Month: October, 2014

The Honourable Asot Michael Engages His Excellency V. Mahalingam, High Commissioner of India in High Level Discussions  

 Hon. Asot Michael MP with V. Mahalingam

Hon. Asot Michael MP with V. Mahalingam

Honourable Asot A. Michael on Friday, 17th October, 2014, met with the High Commissioner of India, His Excellency V. Mahalingam to discuss a number of Investment opportunities.

The High Commissioner and the Minister discussed the possibilities of attracting a number of investments from India; amongst them are the possibilities of engaging the TAJ Group of Hotels and the ITC Company to construct various five star hotels on the island.

Other notable areas that were discussed are;

–   Development and technical assistance in Wind and Solar Power in Antigua and Barbuda

Information Technology Development to support the expansion of Information Technology Enabled Services / Business Process Outsourcing.

–          To attract upscale call centers within the Free Trade Zone

–  Development of a Light Manufacturing Industry to focus primarily on the manufacturing of circuit boards, cell phones, semi-conductors, motherboards,  as well as other computer hardware parts.

Minister Michael welcomed the investment opportunities to be had, and looks forward to strengthening the ties between India and Antigua and Barbuda.

Since coming to office the Minister has been working feverously to attract foreign direct investment into Antigua and Barbuda.

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Prime Minister Browne Promotes Antigua and Barbuda at International Forum in Toronto

Gaston Browne

TORONTO, Canada – October 2, 2014……. Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston A. Browne has told international business executives, politicians and academics in Toronto,Canada that his government has identified tourism development and financial services as priority investment sectors.

Speaking at the Global Citizen Forum on Wednesday in Toronto, Canada on the topic .Attracting Global Citizens, Prime Minister Browne outlined that his government “intends to re-brand Antigua as such, creating a new slogan, “Invest Antigua” where all measures from a Government stand point, will be fast tracked to compliment any investor wishing to invest in our Country.”

The Global Citizen Forum is an annual conference designed to educate, promote and empower global citizenship.  The forum brings together government representatives from around the globe, financial, immigration and tax advisors, due diligence experts, global real estate developers, high net worth individuals, investors, business leaders and philanthropists to exchange on and further develop the concept of global citizenship.

Addressing the audience on the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme,Prime Minister Browne said that his government has taken note of the possible pitfalls of a programme of this nature and has designed the appropriate mechanisms to assure its integrity. “We are cognizant of the importance of strict and appropriate scrutiny of potential citizens to protect the CIP programme and the Jurisdiction as whole. The CIU implements rigorous due diligence standards a portion of which is outsourced to reputable internationally renowned due diligence service providers with competencies and expertise in the specific geographical location of the applicant,” he pointed out.
The country’s leader highlighted the three broad areas for an investor to qualify as a citizen and be issued with an Antigua and Barbuda passport.  He spoke of the Contribution to the National Development Fund of US Two Hundred thousand (Which is a limited offer); the Real Estate Option of US Four Hundred Thousand; and the investment in a business option of 1.5 million US dollars for a single investor or US 5 million for two or more investors, each  investor investing a minimum of US Four Hundred Thousand dollars.

On Friday at the Forum, Prime Minister Browne will speak to the hundreds in attendance on some of the investment opportunities in Antigua and Barbuda and steps the government has taken to make the country the best place for doing business.
Prime Minister Browne is accompanied to the Forum by his wife Mrs Maria Browne and

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister the Hon Charles Fernandez.  He is joined by Ambassadors Casroy James and Gilbert Boustany.
The Prime Minister’s expenses to the Forum, along with that of the members of the delegation are being covered by Arton Capital, curator of the Forum.

Prime Minister Browne returns to the country on the weekend.

PM Browne promotes Antigua and Barbuda Investment Climate and the CIP Programme

PM Official

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – 24 October, 2014….Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne is today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates promoting Antigua and Barbuda and the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme during a number of specially organized events and investment conferences.

While in the Middle East, the country’s leader will address businessmen and investors on the benefits of the country’s CIP programme and also meet with government officials and members of the Royal Family.

Before arriving in Dubai, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Browne was the featured speaker at a Citizenship by Investment and International Residency Summit at the Jumeriah Carlton in Belgravia, one of the wealthiest districts in England.

Prime Minister Browne also held a town hall meeting with Antigua and Barbuda nationals living in London, during which he informed them of his government’s efforts to rebuild Antigua and Barbuda.  He also spoke of an investment conference organized by the Caribbean Council in London, where he also spoke of the investment climate in the twin-island state.

Before returning to Antigua next weekend, Prime Minister Browne will also travel to Singapore where he will be one of the featured speakers in an International Investment Conference organized by residency and citizenship experts, Henley and Partners.  During his stay in the Southeast Asia country, Prime Minister Browne will hold bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Malta and CEOs’ of a number of leading corporations in Singapore and Asia.

Prime Minister Browne is accompanied by his wife Maria and Foreign Affairs Minister the Hon. Charles Fernandez and Mrs. Fernandez.  His trip abroad is privately funded.

While overseas, Public Utilities and Aviation Minister the Hon. Robin Yearwood is the Acting Prime Minister.

Antigua Port Authority Board Commissioners Sworn-in at the Government House

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 ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – October 24, 2014…….The seven-person Antigua Port Authority Board Commissioners was sworn-in at the Government House on Thursday morning, October 23 2014. The oath was administered by the new Governor General, Dr. Sir Rodney Williams, who took the opportunity to encourage the members to perform their duties well. The Chairperson of the Antigua Port Authority Board is Senator MaryClare Hurst and the Deputy is Delano Richards. Freestone Robinson, Dwight Gardiner, Peter Thomas and Winston Gomes are Commissioners, and Craig Christopher, a lawyer, is the Board Secretary.

The seven-person Board of Commissioners has been working since their appointment; however, the date of the formal swearing-in was determined by the Governor General, taking his own busy schedule into account.

Several important proposals to develop the Port have been submitted to the Commissioners, and their evaluation will play an important part in the final decision which is to be made shortly. The Minister with responsibility for the Port is the Prime Minister who also serves as the Minister of Finance. All the centers off revenue collection fall within the purview of the Minister of Finance; that would include the Inland Revenue Department, the Customs, the Treasury, and the Port Authority.

The Port Authority’s many responsibilities extend beyond the St. John’s Deepwater Harbour to include those several ports where vessels dock and revenue is earned

PM of Antigua and Barbuda Condemns terrorist Action in Canada

Gaston Browne

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – 23rd October, 2014……..Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda the Hon. Gaston Browne has expressed concern over the recent shocking terrorist attack on the government system in Canada, condemning the action stoutly and unreservedly.

In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister Browne extended condolences on the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was killed during the gun attack at the National War Memorial.

We reproduce below the full text of the Prime Minister’s letter to his Canadian counterpart:

 

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

 

On behalf of the people and Government of Antigua and Barbuda, I express deep concern at the shocking terrorist attack on the institutions of governance in Canada and condemn it stoutly and unreservedly.

 

We are relieved that neither you nor any member of parliament was harmed in the violent attack during which Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed, as he carried out his duty as a ceremonial honour guard at Canada’s National War Memorial.   We extend our sincere condolences to Corporal Cirillo’s family.

 

Canada and Antigua and Barbuda have always enjoyed extremely close relations.  Many native Antiguans and Barbudans have made a second home in Canada. Similarly, many Canadians have either made second homes in Antigua and Barbuda or visit every year on holiday. 

 

We hold very dear the strong bond between our two countries and the values that we share as members of the Commonwealth of Nations.  The terrorist attack within the precincts of parliament stab at the very heart of our common values of democracy and the rule of law.  Such attacks will not be tolerated wherever they occur.

Please be assured of the solidarity of the people and Government of Antigua and Barbuda in this moment of trial for the people and Government of Canada.

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN APPOINTS HIS EXCELLENCY DR. RODNEY WILLIAMS TO THE ORDER OF SAINT MICHAEL AND SAINT GEORGE

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Dr. Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams

ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 22nd October, 2014……..Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, on the advice of Her Majesty’s Antigua and Barbuda Ministers, has conferred orders for the appointment of His Excellency Dr. Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.

Consequently, His Excellency is now an Ordinary Member First Class, or Knight Grand Cross of the said Most Distinguished Order (GCMG).
The award, which is dated 30th August, 2014 was announced in the London Gazette of the 17 October, 2014.

As a result of the Knighthood, His Excellency will receive the title of “Sir.” His spouse will now be referred to as  “Lady”.

Tuesday is National Cleanup and Recover Day in Antigua and Barbuda

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ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – October 13, 2014….. Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne has called for Tuesday 14th October to be national cleanup and recovery day, following the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo over the islands on Monday.

“I am making a call for all Antiguans and Barbudans and residents to utilize Tuesday, 14th October to carry out damage assessments of their offices, both public and private, and businesses and also to engage in a cleanup exercise in order for the nation to be fully back in business by Wednesday of this week,” he said.

The country’s leader, who made an initial assessment of the damage caused by the storm on Monday, said that it exceeded what he had anticipated and there are individuals who will require relief having had their roofs blown off, water damage and other types of damage to their homes and properties.

The Prime Minister said that he has already instructed the Minister responsible for Disaster Management, the Hon. Samantha Marshall to put together a special task force to carry out a swift national assessment to determine the needs of the people.  He noted that government is prepared to provide assistance to persons who have suffered extensive damage.

The country’s leader also announced that schools should remain closed on Tuesday to allow education officials, principals and teachers to assess the situation.  He was however swift to point out that Tuesday is not a public holiday and that persons should utilize the opportunity to return their businesses and offices to normal.

He also outlined that Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) crews are already out assessing the situation and are repairing downed power lines and poles in an effort to restore power fully to the islands.

Prime Minister Browne reissued a call he made preceding the passage of the storm for persons to exercise extreme caution when using the roads and assessing the damage to their properties.

Following the tropical storm, Prime Minister Browne toured the island including some of the areas worst affected by the cyclone including Parham,

where a number of fishing vessels were destroyed, Cades Bay, Johnson’s Point and the Villa and Point communities.

Minister responsible for Disaster Management, the Hon. Samantha Marshall also toured the island and reiterated the call made by the Prime Minister for the nation to come together to make the country fully business operational by Wednesday.

Asot Michael  MP affirms the commitment to improve in cruise tourism sector at FCCA 

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Philipsburg, St. Maarten (Friday October, 10 2014)Antigua & Barbuda continues to affirm its commitment to fast tracking improvements to the destination’s cruise tourism sector. This was the assurance given to cruise executives by tourism officials at the recently held Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Marketing Conference, in Philipsburg, St. Maarten from October 6th–10th 2014.

In a series of one-on-one meetings, and media interviews, the Antigua & Barbuda delegation, which was led by the Hon. Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Investment, Economic Development, and Energy, assured top cruise-line executives that the new Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party Government was committed to working assiduously on implementing its plans to expand the St. John’s Port facilities. Productive meetings were held with major cruise line partners such as Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines.

Minister Michael shared with the Cruise Executives, the Government’s redevelopment plans for the port as well as the new energy initiative, which will offer the cruise lines an opportunity to refuel their ships in Antigua and Barbuda. “We must look at all avenues to increase the likelihood that Antigua and Barbuda is a destination of choice on cruise line itineraries. This initiative, coupled with the redevelopment of the port and landside facilities, means that we will regain our marquee destination status in keeping with the Government’s vision for the industry” said Minister Michael.

Cruise-line executives confirmed that Antigua & Barbuda is still well positioned as a premier cruise destination within the Caribbean on many of the cruise line itineraries. However, cruise-line officials would like to see the local sector evolve and the promised improvements implemented, to enhance the destination’s cruise tourism product.

Other members of the delegation included chairman of the St. John’s Development Corporation (STDC) Rohan Hector, along with Executive Director Neil Butler and Deputy Chairman Senator Adrian Lee.  The St. John’s Development Corporation Officials used the opportunity to dialogue with officials from the Port of St Maarten, and observe firsthand the operations and processes that have contributed to St Maarten’s success as the leading cruise destination in the region.

CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association Nathan Dundas were also present to discuss marketing initiatives and update cruise officials on the new tours and excursions available to enhance their guest experience.

Additionally, Antigua & Barbuda thanked major cruise line partner, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) – through its Ocean Fund, for its recent joint funding of the destination’s participation, as one of the seven countries, in the Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas initiative.  The first phase of the initiative involved a detailed planning process driven by all local tourism sectors. RCCL was assured of Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to continue the process, with the implementation and monitoring of the identified priority project areas. A total of 77 Ship calls from RCCL have been secured by the destination for the upcoming season.

Several local tour and excursion operators, such as Carib World Travel, Wadadli Animal Nature Park, D Boat, Tropical Adventures and Sea Escape, were present with the ABTA staff at the destination booth and used their attendance at the conference to negotiate and secure more business from the cruise line for their operations.

In keeping with the importance of the cruise industry to all local stakeholders, the executive leadership of the St John’s Taxi Association also attended the conference where they observed firsthand the transfer systems used by St Maarten. The Port of St. Maarten efficiently dispatches tens of thousands of passenger via different options on cruise ship days with a win-win outcome for all stakeholders.

In 2014, the international cruise industry’s forecasts 21.7 million passengers to cruise globally, with 11.9 million sourced from North America and 9.8 million comprised of international passengers. This represents an approximate 2% increase over 2013’s figures and is commensurate with the added capacity. There has been growth in all global cruise regions, but the industry’s success continues to be headlined by the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda is forecasted to see a 15% in cruise arrivals for the 2014/15 winter season with over 700,000 cruise passengers visiting the destination.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Condemns Political Assassination in Venezuela

                                                  PM ANTIGUA

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – October 9, 2014……In a statement from his office today, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda hon.  Gaston Browne unequivocally condemned the brutal assassination of a political  figure in Venezuela and the intensification of political violence in the South American country.

PM Browne was reacting to the recent assassination in Caracas of a member of Parliament from the ruling party. Robert Serra, a young lawyer and legislator from the ruling PSUV party, was brutally murdered in his home, along with his partner Maria Herrera.

‘This is a brutal assault on democracy that needs to be condemned,’ Browne said. ‘The callous nature of this crime cries out for justice, and peoples and governments everywhere must come to the defence of democracy.’

Serra, at twenty-seven the youngest member of the Venezuelan Parliament, was an active legislator who specialized in measures to fight crime. His death has rocked Venezuelan political circles and thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Caracas to attend his funeral. Serra came from a poor background, and his mother, a street-vendor, helped put him through law school.

‘I convey my condolences to the Speaker of the Parliament and I stand in solidarity with the Parliament of Venezuela,’ said PM Browne, ‘and with the Government and people of Venezuela at this time of loss.’

The prime minister and chairman of CARICOM said that, as a region with strong democratic institutions and traditions, the Caribbean had a special responsibility to speak out against such outrageous acts that challenge the democratic order.

Mr. Browne stated that he believed that the Government of Nicolas Maduro would address this negative political development and restore the sanctity of the Parliament and its members.