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Stop Antigua Land Grab - Demand Legislation to Protect Public Lands

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Stop Antigua Land Grab We live in a world where power is very unbalanced. Power imbalances are at the root of most social problems. Correcting power imbalances will go a long way towards solving many problems at once. 

We'd be wise to attend to this no matter what issues we work on. - Democracy: A Social Power Analysis -Dr. John S. Atlee, with Tom Atlee

This article establishes the link of land give-away from the dynastic tradition of British Royal Monarchy to Leader Emeritus of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Lester Bird. Lester Bird failed to grasp the socio-economic impact of history relating to technological and economic changes, alternately supporting the empowerment of the few. This basic realism of Birdocracy is based on ego-maniac politicians effective monopoly of politics, land and commercial activity. 


Historical records of land dispossession expressly predicates that the British economy benefited from slavery,colonialism and capital accumulation. The vicious cycle of slavery moved Antigua slave population from 570 slaves in 1673 to  33,432 in 1834. Slave owners, Governors, and their heirs were trustees of a system of exploitation, torture and violence. British slave-trader Robert Pearne had considerable holding of several hundred acres in Nonesuch Bay, St. Philips, Antigua. In the same manner, this feudal landlordism progressed to Colonel Edward Powell, Governor of Antigua, owner of Golden Grove and the Road Plantations in St. John's Parish, Antigua. By the terms of Powell's Will the aforementioned estate was left to his nephew Edward Powell. Likewise, John Roe bequeathing  his plantation Shortshope 284 acres in St. Mary's Parish to his son John Roe, as a consequence, this culture and tradition of empowering their heirs continued ad infinitum. For example the Will of slave owner Robert Pearne declared monies arising from the sale of "Negro Slaves"  to be invested "...in real or Government Securities in Great Britain, upon the like Uses and Trusts." By the end of the eighteenth century, the sugar plantations of the West Indies (like Sir Thomas’s plantation in Antigua) were pumping four million pounds into Britain as compared with only one million pounds from Britain’s interests in the rest of the world (Austen and Antigua Slavery in Her Time)  (The history of the island of Antigua, one of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, from the first settlement in 1635 to the present time (1894) )

Definitely, the African Holocaust , slave labor, the sale of slaves as commodities, and the resources of Caribbean countries built Europe and the wealthy descendants of slave-owners, including Jane Austen, author of Mansfield Park, benefited from the corruption of blood! ProfessorGregson Davis, eminent Antiguan scholar working hypothesis Jane Austen's Mansfield Park: the Antigua Connection,  explores the constancy of the link between the Austen slave-trading family and Antigua. The ancestral connection was through her father George Austen: trustee of an estate in Antigua ( owned by the Nibbs family). George Austen slave trading activity in Antigua, financially contributed to the estate of George Austen, passing along family wealth to future generations. Conclusive proof gives credence that British industrialization, benefited from enslavement of Africans in the Americas was again emphasized in Dr. Eric Williams, 1944 epic  'Capitalism and Slavery' “The commercial capitalism of the 18th century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the 19th century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless"

 

Hegemonic Preservation - Fiery Resistance

 

This topical issue of slavery, based on torture and genocide was further corroborated By Robin Blackburn ' Enslavement and Industrialisation': "Profits from these activities helped to endow All Souls College, Oxford, with a splendid library, to build a score of banks, including Barclays, and to finance the experiments of James Watt, inventor of the first really efficient steam engine"  Moreover, the detailed analysis presents sufficient evidence that the sordid slave trade was inextricably linked to Britain and European consumerism development in the 17th century. Antigua honored historian and political activist Tim Hector, added to the global dialogue by asserting slavery dehumanize and establish the perpetuation of subjection, suppression, and decimal degrees of progress: "Achievement was virtually impossible in 19th century Antigua and Barbuda. The first third of the century saw our people bound hand and foot to the plantation, in chattel slavery, the dehumanizing project. The other two thirds of the century saw us trapped in the dehumanizing project, making decimal degrees of progress" In addition Dr. Susan Lowe study of Antigua economic situation was no different: "As the economic situation deteriorated after the 1840's the white population made a concerted effort to preserve it's hegemony, and barriers that had seemed to be falling began to re-erected." (Tim Hector Outlet-Fan the Flame: Two or maybe Three Antiguan and Barbuda Giants of the 20th Century -Friday, February 11, 2000) (Small Islands, Large Questions- Society, Culture and Resistance in the Post- Emancipation Caribbean page 39)

Given the dynastic tradition of preceding centuries, King Charles 11 of England gave Antigua & Barbuda land to Dr. Daniel Mackinnons, and numerous British slave-owners. The genealogy account documents the first British settler in the McKinnons area as Dr. Daniel Mackinnons  (Mckinnons ) of Dickenson Bay, Antigua. The area now called McKinnons was named after him. According to Mackinnons Clan Memoirs, Daniel's correct name by birth was Donald, due to a mix-up he was subsequently called Daniel. Additionally, several estates were granted to Dr. Mackinnon by  Charles 11 King of England, amongst the estates were Dropes, Golden Grove, Dickenson's Bay, and Mackinnons. Despite these general colonial land theft by Royal decrees, Leader Emeritus Lester Bird followed the legacy of King Charles 11, King of England, leaving a bitter legacy of land control, and business monopoly in the hands of foreign buccaneers. Syndicate lands purchased by Sir V.C. Bird in the third quarter of the 20th Century, were swiftly sold or leased by Lester Bird in the fourth quarter of the 20th Century . Again these lands are now controlled by the age-old minority, in partnership with Lester Bird to fleece Antigua & Barbuda. This was Antigua-style democracy under PM Lester Bird, therefore, absence of action against the guilt of these crime, willingly enables more sell-off! . Time to start a campaign similar to Stop Africa Land Grab. The Stop Antigua Land Grab, must radically demand changes to Antigua archaic land laws, to reflect the permanent protection of public lands ! (Mackinnons Clan Memoirs) (Stop Africa Land Grab)

Residual traits of British Colonial land grab simply empowered Leader Emeritus Lester Bird illegal Crown Lands deals. Leader Emeritus of Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Lester Bird was the "absolute monarchy" misusing that autonomy for more than 28 years, granting 99 year leases, arbitrarily giving away more than 16,000 acres of Crown Land, including Corbison Pointe, Dickenson Bay, Antigua. After being elected in 2004,  the UPP government failed to carry out a forensic land audit, constitute a passage for repatriation, enact land protection legislations, and reform government procurement policy. Transactions involving Syndicate Lands purchased in 1967 for US$2,081,995 million are now gone, so that massive land reclamation struggle seems to have been pointless. Compliantly, Antigua & Barbuda constituents remain slaves to a system of sell-off, disempowerment, and lack of participatory democracy. Repeatedly, voters will await the outcome of Antigua June 12, 2014 general election, then abdicate and hand over infinite power to politicians. The remaining 5-years of governance is monopolized by the political party elected, essentially enslaving us with dogmatism, and absolute power. After that, the people carry weighty shackles of hyper-partisan history until the next general election. The empty soul of Leader Emeritus Lester Bird, was the attitude of King Charles 11, franchising policies, only preserving the hegemony of the few. Bird's political ideology of greed, fear and hatred exploits peoples fear of democracy.

No one has corrected these past indiscretions, consequences of serious public resistance may  yet come. Concealed behind high walls are enclaves that now control beach accesses. Today coastal lands are under the control of privateers who show no respect for Antigua & Barbuda resources. Giorgio Armani, the famous Italian designer and homeowner knows the value of co-existence and shared responsibility "..ensure that all developers respect your islands' resources"  Armani's cooperative vision is entrenched in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization since 1996: "...to contribute to the development of an integrated approach to the prevention and resolution of conflicts over resources and values in coastal regions and small islands." Without this integrated approach and public consultation, the sell off, and denial of public access will become the  fiery fuse of social discontent.  Theoretically transforming todays paradise in tomorrows inferno. This argument is a volatile cocktail mix of fuming discontent and fiery resistance. Whatever the outcome, people will really be angry when they know all is lost.....more than the loss of a beach.  Present land deals are not debated, no participatory democracy exist, also, government procurement is still not fair. Presently, Crown Lands laws enables Cabinet "..... to make regulation with respect to the terms and conditions which Crown Lands may be rented, leased, occupied, sold or otherwise dealt with..." [Crown Lands Cap. 120 Page 2 No.4]

 

No Participatory Democracy

 

Against this interpretive background, Corbkinnons Ltd and the role of political self-interest were interwoven with Devcon and Norman Wexelman. Firstly, the agreement between St. John's Development Corporation and Italian investors to construct 1,842 rooms was summarily reduced to 28 units representing 1.52%. The development created an environmental disaster within the environs of McKinnon's. Secondly, transferring the 350 acres of Crown Land to private undertaking. Thirdly, the  invisible hand of authoritative power used Wexelman as a nominee trustee and business associate of Corbkinnons Ltd. Political observers suggest Wexelman was a nominee shareholder, basically used by ALP politicians to minimize and hide politicians interest in Corbkinnons Ltd, and other so-called secret Government projects . What is a nominee shareholder? Tax Havens Guide defines nominee shareholder:  "A nominee shareholder is a person or entity listed as the holder of the securities of an offshore corporation rather than its actual owner, which allows them to remain anonymous."  Manifestly, Devcon International Corporation is responsible to share all information regarding both government entities, Corbkinnons and Newport (Antigua) Ltd. Keep in mind, St. John's Development Corporation ( Ratification ) secured the promissory notes against two State assets: Corbkinnons and Newport Holding.  These government assets secured government debt to AMP ( St. John's Development Ratification page 3). Neither Devcon nor Norman Wexelman were asked to produce the Corbkinnons Ltd minutes, be more transparent and accountable to the tax payers of Antigua & Barbuda?  Not only is this an area of concern, but public procurement, no one should be begging any Minister of Government, everything should transparent, following the Government of Virginia eProcurement Portal. 

Overall, the  Corbkinnons project lacked transparency, there was no performance characteristics or benefits to the nations. No security agreement exists, reaping the benefits were Devcon key stakeholders.  Antigua experience with Devcon International Corporation is instructive, more business cited example: "The Company is a 43 percent shareholder in a Tortolan corporation formed to construct condominium housing units in Antigua. The Company has advanced $200,000 in capital contributions to the Tortolan corporation."  Around the same time, it is an acknowledge fact that Hog John Bay Development, a company owned by PM Bird, engaged in the same kind of economic activity. PM Lester Bird and Devcon forged a unified partnership and became a leading force in cooperative development, for example the construction of Pillar Rock and Marina Bay Condos. One of these business-government collusion came before the East Caribbean Court of Appeal: Claim No. ANUHCV2004/0307 Proprietors Condominium Plan v  Arthur Reynolds revealed some confidential information. Mr. Reynolds was forced to disclose that he used to be a member, director and shareholder of Hog John Bay Company which was the company that developed the entire Condominium Property of Pillar Rock. Lester Bird was conspicuously absent from the preceding. The economic benefit and ownership of Pillar Rock are related to PM Bird and his cronies, ownership of multiple hotels and condos in the coastal areas of Antigua & Barbuda. This connects with the World Bank Analysis: Yeptons Marina and Condos, Hyatt Halcyon, Dry Hill Hotel, Dulcina Hotel were all government undertakings between 1979 to 1983. [World Band Report No. 2432-CRB Current Economic Position and Prospects of Antigua April 16, 1979 page 60, 61]

The history of these claims publicize businesses and land holding interest of Lester Bird in a Court Claim No.ANUHCV2006/0326 Clarabell Investment Company Ltd - Paul Sudolski vs. Antigua Island Company -Rupert Sterling : about issues relating to trespass to land . Sterling used the threatening language of  Lester Bird's autocratic power, against  the claimant continued existence. PM Lester Bird, principal associate of Antigua Isle never debate this, Sterling was left to oppose the claim. The claimant Paul Sudolski won! 

 

The Inequality of Opportunity - the Crisis of  Democracy

"....... there are two problems here. One is the local ability to distinguish between unscrupulous and often sinister "modern buccaneers" who are merely out to exploit or "rip off" the country in the crudest possible way rather than to contribute to its genuine development. " 

Economist and former President of the Caribbean Development Bank, William G Demas anticipated these events more than three decades ago, emphasizing these social and economic conditions, and calling on the Government of Antigua to empower small local entrepreneurs. Demas expressed that moral and practical idea in his classic report: 'The Viability of the-Caribbean Development Bank'  ".....it is necessary to stimulate the local private sector in various ways. One way is to develop government policies and procedures favorable to the development and exercise of entrepreneurship". This clear expression was not given much thought, ALP politicians never heeded the advice to empower local people, public money and land concentration remained in the hands of politicians. (  'The Viability of the-Caribbean Development Bank - May 13 & 14, 1981 ) 

Next, in 1981 ALP Minister of Finance John St. Luces' Budget Speech underscored the pending dilemma of youth unemployment, an economy sinking into hopelessness, confronting challenges of widespread youth unemployment and poverty. MP St. Luce viewed unemployment among the most pressing issues urgently in need of policy modification to alleviate the imminent crisis "...and most of all create meaningful employment opportunities for our young people who are leaving school  at the rate of 1,200 per year" Six years later, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted "......a fiscal crisis is looming from 1987 on due to the very large increase in external debt (an additional US$110.0 million) that has been committed to since mld-1985. All of this new debt is on commercial terms, and has been contracted to finance four projects; the Deep Bay Hotel, a water desalination and power plant, airport runway resurfacing and a telephone exchange expansion." 

Continuing, the overall balance of payment deficit rose from 42% in 1987 to 82% of GDP in 1988. In addition inflation accelerated from 42 in 1987 to 72 in 1988, also public sector saving declined from 52% in 1987 to 32% in 1988: "During 1986-89,the Central Government's current balance moved from a surplus of 2.5% of GDP to a deficit of almost 2.8%."  IMF identified one of  the problem - excessive public sector employment as high as 30% of the work force. So, the public sector employment was restrained, growth significantly reduced, youth unemployment sky-rocketed. According to Antigua and Barbuda  1991 census, 1,784 youth were unemployed, subsequently a report by the UNDP 'Analysis of the Investment Process in Health and the Environment in Antigua and Barbuda 1996' estimated 50% of the rural population of Antigua and Barbuda living in absolute poverty. Another significant explanation of this proof comes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) IV consultation. IMF critical overview of Antigua & Barbuda economy, eventually exposed ALPs failed policy: "Fiscal deficit rose to 9.4% of GDP in 1999 from 5% in 1998. And in 2000 the Central Government's overall deficit is estimated to rise to 12% of the GDP"  plus, in 2000 youth unemployed was 19.90%. Meanwhile, the offshore banking sector suffered a drastic reduction from 52 in 1998 to 25 in 2001, and Antigua and Barbuda economy was totally devastated by 2003! (JPRS-LAM-84-056 04 May, 1984 (PDF) 180126 ) - (view pages 7 to 23) Part 1 of  St. Luce's Presentation of 1984 Budget - excerpt Nation Voice, 31 March 1984 . 

The grim reality of Antigua & Barbuda debt was terrifying, and the acceleration of these debt added to the nations demise. Realizing the governments inability to service it's debt obligation, the Directors of the IMF urged the government: "To become current on it's obligation to social security system, to avoid incurring arrears again, and to put the system on an actuarially sound basis" Also, IMF Directors viewed the Antigua & Barbuda database as antiquated for purposes of surveillance and encouraged the authorities: "To improve the coverage, quality, and timing of economic statistics" 

The legacy of intergenerational losses under Leader Emeritus Lester Bird, was the cumulative effect of inequality of opportunity, resulting in the crisis of democracy . No one should be  looking for government handouts,  time for us to recognize our own, before reaching out to others. Seek ownership and control of businesses and small enterprise. Don't wait on government,  own your destiny, its the only way forward. Demand government be politically responsible, publicly accountable, socially transparent and powerfully progressive. Time to own the white sands of a trillion dollar industry to the seascape of global enterprises. In collaboration with China it's time to communicate a joint business venture: own our own container shipping fleets, cruise ship. Time to own our production for food security.....Time to fight if we believe in our sovereign right to survive and thrive for true independence. Time to demand participatory democracy, time to  own the land. Vote your conscience!

References:

The World Bank 

Considering Jane Austen

Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series: America & West Indies 1685-1688

 

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Importing Food is Damaging the Caribbean- Why No Action

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Why No Action?It is shameful that golden opportunities to produce more food in the Caribbean and significantly reduce the astronomically high annual food import bill of US$4.75 billion are being woefully neglected.  If this misguided trend continues, the economies of many of the countries of the region will be increasingly imperilled. 

At a time of very low or no economic growth, extremely high ratios of debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and declining foreign exchange earnings in many of the 14 independent nations that comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the majority of them continue to spend huge sums on buying food outside the Caribbean.  

In 2013, only four countries were exceptions to those with unsustainably high debt to GDP ratios. They were: Haiti 21.3%, Suriname 29.2%, Trinidad and Tobago 30.6%, and Bahamas 56.3%.  Of the others, Jamaica 138.9 %, Grenada 115%, St Kitts-Nevis 104.9% and Antigua and Barbuda 92.9% have the highest debt-to-GDP ratio.  At the lower end of the unsustainable high debt-to-GDP ratio are Guyana 63.9%, Dominica 74.95, Belize 75.5%, and St Vincent and the Grenadines 76.4% (source IMF and World Bank).   It should be noted that in the case of Haiti, while its debt-to-GDP ratio is low, it has the highest rate of poverty at 77% of its population.  Other countries with high levels of poverty are: Belize 41.3%, Grenada 37.7%, Guyana 36.1%, and St Vincent and the Grenadines 30.2%. 

These figures alone should be strong reasons for CARICOM governments to swiftly involve the private sector and financial institutions in acting to reduce the enormous food import bill. Experts have sounded alarms repeatedly that failure to deal with the issue is harming Caribbean economies and increasing their vulnerability to prices and supply from external providers. 


Jamaica is the largest importer of agricultural products from outside the region at 21% or US$997.5 million of the total regional import bill.  Trinidad and Tobago is the second largest importer accounting for 20% or US$950 million, and Haiti is third at 19% or US$902.5 million.    In part, the size of the food import bill for these three countries is explained by the relatively large size of their populations in relation to the other countries.  Haiti has 10.2 million people, Jamaica 2.7 million and Trinidad and Tobago 1.3 million.  The reason Haiti ranks behind Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago is its very low per capita income of US$760 in 2013 - seven times lower than Jamaica’s and 19 times lower than Trinidad and Tobago’s. 

But, while these three countries are the largest importers in total volume, they are not the biggest food importers on a per-head-of-population basis.  Antigua and Barbuda leads the table in 2013 at US$1,170 followed by Barbados at US$1,126, Bahamas at US$1,106 and St Lucia at US$969. On this per capita basis, Trinidad and Tobago is sixth, Jamaica twelfth and Haiti fourteenth.  These figures demonstrate the pervasiveness of the problem across the region.

A review of the prevalence of undernourishment in CARICOM is revealing.  For instance, in Barbados, people are over-fed on inappropriate foods to the extent that, in the measurement of people in their 30s, Barbadians now rank as No. 1 in the Caribbean of persons who are overweight or obese.  Trinidad and Tobago is second, Dominica third, Jamaica fourth and St Lucia fifth. Much of this is due to the importation of processed food (now well over US$2.5 billion) that include homogenised composite food preparations; yeast and baking powders; stuffed pasta and fast foods.  

Overweight and an increasing reliance on processed foods have contributed to medical problems such as diabetes and heart conditions.  This means that the high cost of medical treatment for people, as a consequence of poor diet, has to be added to the US$4.75 billion annual food import bill with harsh effects on their economies.

It should be clear that CARICOM countries are doing themselves no favour by continuing the ill-advised policy of importing large quantities of food that could be produced within the region with contributions being made by all countries.  Indeed, should governments of the region implement the food, nutrition and agriculture plans that they have drawn-up, not only would massive sums of foreign exchange be saved, but agriculture would make a significant contribution to GDP and economic growth and create tens of thousands of jobs across the region. 

The failure to implement these plans at a time of very difficult economic circumstances is not only poor economic and financial planning and implementation, it is downright senseless – particularly as the countries could individually and collectively reduce their import bills by at least 30%, redirecting their foreign exchange for spending on job-creating and sustainable projects, and thus reducing poverty and improving health standards.

What are some of the solutions? Studies conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) show that CARICOM countries could increase their production of cassava, other root crops, vegetables and meat, particularly sheep and goats.  Increases in such production, which could take place in every CARICOM country, would significantly reduce importation of wheat (US$248.8 m) and corn (US$145.5 m) that, along with Food Preparations (US$251 m), constituted the three largest imports in 2011.  For instance, cassava could be mixed with wheat for making bread, cakes and rotis with no discernible difference to taste and with the added advantage of a reduction of gluten. Further, a percentage of cassava could be added to corn that is used as feed in the poultry industry, thus reducing the import bill for corn and maintaining the quality of feed. 

The same argument applies to meat importation valued at US$225 m.   Several Caribbean countries are importing lamb from as far away as New Zealand, while the production of sheep and goat is perfectly feasible within the region to satisfy demand – and every country could be involved.

What is required is a well-organised meeting of Caribbean entrepreneurs, the Caribbean Development Bank, national development banks and visionary commercial banks with agricultural experts from each country to demonstrate the real economic opportunity that now exists if capital investment can be married to agricultural know-how.  At offer is a significant portion of US$4.75 billion to be earned within the region for the benefit of the region.

The heads of Caribbean agricultural agencies, including CARDI, the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the FAO meet in Suriname in the week beginning June 10, it would be unforgivable if they ignore this opportunity that could only profit the region, its entrepreneurs and the economies as a whole.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant, Senior Fellow at London University and former Caribbean diplomat.

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Answers on Wind Power Plans

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Wind TurbinesAntigua St. john's - Further information has been released on plans for wind power to become a reality in Antigua & Barbuda.

The following interview was obtained with Errol Bailey and Dave Moses and the C-Net/CLAYCO team.

Recently, "Wind Power coming to Antigua?"  was published as an introduction to C-Net/CLAYCO and their Wind Power Generation Program they are initiating in Antigua & Barbuda.


This is the followup with Errol Bailey and Dave Moses and the C-Net/CLAYCO team to ask them some key questions to better understand this project and its benefits for Antigua & Barbuda. Check out our exchange...

Q1: How were you originally contacted about this need in Antigua & Barbuda ? 

ANSWER: Errol Bailey with C-Net is a citizen of Antigua and travels back and forth to the island often on business and visiting family in the English Harbor area. He became aware of the significant economic and environmental struggle that both the government and people of Antigua have been dealing with for years concerning energy costs, energy production and the economic impact of such. C-Net/Clayco came to Antigua to learn more details of the specific issues and challenges from the government and APUA.

Q2: What was the 'direction' or mandate you were provided from A&B officials ?

ANSWER: It was fairly simply put to us frm A&B officials: "Can you develop a program to help Antigua reduce it's dependance on using fossil fuels to produce energy, hopefully lowering the costs of electricity to consumers and businesses and do it in a way that doesn't cause the government or utility to have to commit to any additional "out of pocket" costs." We said "YES".

Q3: What specifics of your program can you share at this time ?

ANSWER: Our program is broken into (2) phases……. Phase 1 would be to develop a 25 megawatt Wind facility which would be 'on-line' by the end of 2015. Phase 2 would add another 25 MW facility producing power by 1st quarter of 2018.

Q4: At this point, do you know how many wind turbines would be installed ?

ANSWER: Our preliminary engineering indicates that each phase would include (10) 2.5 MW turbines. Final engineering could modify the quantity slightly up or down depending on cost efficiencies and newer technology.

Q5: How would this integrate into APUA's existing power system ?

ANSWER: There is a lot of homework still to coordinate with APUA and the other existing power suppliers. That said, power production with fossil fuels would reduce, but never totally go away. We would need to develop a program that would integrate the renewable output on a "first serve" basis and use the current generating facilities for the balance of daily needs on the island as well as back-up for when the renewable plant is not able to produce enough power due to climatic constraints.

Q6: What are the economic benefits with on a program such as this ? 

ANSWER: C-Net/Clayco's detailed analysis has shown each phase of the renewable plants would save over 500,000 US gallons of diesel fuel, PER MONTH. This fuels savings would cover the cost of our projected Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) and produce an additional US $20,000,000.00 annually by the time Phase 2 is on-line. The money saved could then be used for existing system upgrades/maintenance or other governmental obligations.

Q7: How would local employment benefit from these projects ?

ANSWER: Our goal would be to employ as many local citizens and businesses throughout the construction process along with developing a program in conjunction with APUA to staff the on-going operations and maintenance of the plants, once production begins. In addition, we plan on providing Renewable Power Education programs to assist the local businesses and citizens to better understand how to start implementing renewable energy resources into their everyday lives.

Q8: Do you see any negative environmental implications of these projects ?

ANSWER: No, quite the opposite. Our projects would reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emissions by an equivalent of over 150,000 barrels of oil per year. The lessoning of the oil requirement would also begin to lower the risk of future environmental impact from current oil production and distribution on the island.

Q9: What are the next steps for moving forward on this initiative ?

ANSWER: C-Net/Clayco have provided the administration with a Project Development Agreement for review by the Prime Minister and APUA which would start to establish a bi-partisan group to begin detailing many of the programs discussed and kick off the final engineering required to get the PPA established and project financing put in place. With the upcoming elections on June 12th, we understand that there are "more important" issues for the officials and citizens to decide on other than our "renewable program", but we anticipate getting back with into our discussions again in late June to advance our platform.

Q10: Are there other initiatives that could spring from this program ?

ANSWER: We certainly think so. We believe that as renewable energy systems are established and become more commonplace throughout Antigua & Barbuda and other Eastern Caribbean countries, that there are opportunities to create a "hub" for assembly and maintenance services that could be centered in Antigua & Barbuda and become additional sources for employment and economic benefit in the future.

Q11: Where would these wind turbines be located in Antigua ? 

ANSWER: The exact location still needs some due diligence, but the A&B Government initiated a 3-year wind study a while back and data from that report indicates 3-4 potential areas for best wind generated results. Our team believes that a location in the Crabbs Pennisula area would be best for the first TWO phases of the project.

Q12: Are there any plans to initiate a renewable energy project in Barbuda ? 

ANSWER: We have had some preliminary discussions about how best to serve Barbuda with renewable energy and the program will require more engineering studies to determine the best approach. Barbuda would have some interesting challenges from a location and distribution standpoint, but some type of solar or wind facility would certainly appear to make sense there.

Q13: Does your company also do solar projects, considering the sun is another limitless energy source here in Antigua and Barbuda ?

ANSWER: Absolutely , C-Net/Clayco would evaluate all types of systems with our engineering partners and try and arrive at the most cost-effective solution considering all aspects of the project and then determine which system or combination of systems will deliver the best results to the citizens in the shortest timeframe.

Q14: Approximately how many homes could be served through these first two phases of projects ?

ANSWER: We haven't analyzed this exact usage information for residences on the island, but if we assume that the average household in Antigua uses around 600-700 kWh/month or approximately 7800 kWh per year (the US is approx. 11-12,000 kWh per year/household), then by the time our second phase plant would be in production (first quarter 2018) renewable energy could be powering over 23,000 homes.

Q15: Thanks for much for this information. If A&B residents and community builders have more questions to ask about this program, could they contact C-Net/CLAYCO directly with such questions?

ANSWER: Please do. Errol Bailey of C-Net can be emailed here. Dave Moses Executive VP of CLAYCO can be emailed here.    

 

Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

 

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ABLP Full Recording - Part III- Corruption Can't Fight Corruption

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ABLP Full Recording - Part IIIAntigua St. John's - Today's recording is the first complete recording in which Gaston Browne is present and speaking, along with Asot Michael and Lester Bird.

This recording revolves around kickbacks from the Hadeed family to Asot Michael and Lester Bird, the Power Plant (APCL), and the Government Complex projects.

Also on this recording is the kickbacks paid in exchange for the APUA headquarters, the plot concocted against Robin Yearwood, and the Barrymore Hotel.



To be continued.

 

Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

See related stories:

ABLP Full Recording - Corruption Can't Fight Corruption

ABLP Full Recording - Part Two

 

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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Disabled Man Steals Phone

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Disabled Man Steals PhoneAntigua St. John's - A disabled man appeared before Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel charged with the larceny of a Samsung smart phone.

The 26 year old pleaded guilty to the offence.
 
On April 12, at about 2 pm, the virtual complainant was at a Heritage Quay bar with her friends. The defendant was also at the said establishment.
 
After adding some features to her phone, the victim plugged it in to be charged and went to another area of the bar. When she returned, it could not be found.
 
She asked her friends, but they were unable to say where the item was.


 
The matter was then reported to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
 
On May 30, the victim went to a party at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
 
While there she saw the defendant with a phone. She asked if she could exam it and he complied.
 
After carefully looking at it, the victim realised that it was her missing phone.
                                                                                            
When she  questioned  the accused about the phone, he told the woman that he bought it, and quickly pulled it away from her.
 
The defendant later made contact with the Victim, via whatsapp, telling her that he would return the phone to her in two weeks time.
 
Another report was made to the police, and the man was charged with the offence.
 
The police were able to find the phone, but not without the memory card.
 
On June 1,0 the defendant  will return to court for sentencing.
 
The accused, who is blind in one eye, told the court that he is suffering from chromes disease, and receives a disability grant from the government.


Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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Walker says Nibbs Difficult

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Walker says Nibbs DifficultAntigua St. John's - Barbuda's Member of Parliament Trevor Walker has referred to Arthur Nibbs as very authoritative and very difficult to deal with.

This was ventilated on Observer Radio when questions about a $500,000 loan to the Barbuda Council were posed to Walker yesterday. The BPM member would suggest that his knowledge of the matter is limited.
 
"I only heard about it the other day when Asot and Gaston were in Barbuda - they promised to assist the people with $500,000 - Gaston said even if he has to mortgage his house. it will be done," Walker said.
 
He said the idea feels like a political gimmick - "If it were legitimate, it would have been done long ago, and not just a few days before the elections - it smells like a political gimmick."


 
He also said that the Council chairman did not have any discussions with him about the loan, and further explained, "He is a very difficult person to deal with. It's either his way or the highway ... he is very authoritative and his position is that certain information must be kept from me." Walker said and also noted, "Whenever I go to the meetings, he is very aggressive."
 
Walker also blames Nibbs for the woeful financial state of the Council.
 
"For the year 2013, central government paid the Council in advance, with an additional $1.3million," hw said, and added, "Nibbs management is terrible - I would say that he has misused the office, travelling to St Maarten and giving people all kinds of grants. This is the reason people cannot be paid on time. He also employed more people, causing the payroll to increase."
 
Walker said before Nibbs took over as chairman, salary payments were sometimes delayed by five weeks, but the Council managed - sometimes taking it down to three weeks.
 
He said under Nibbs' leadership, payments have been delayed by up to 15 weeks.

The parliamentarian said that he would be happy if the Barbudans would get some money - but would want to know that it is coming from a legitimate source, and that the appropriate channel is  being used.
 
Nibbs, who also spoke to Observer Radio, said arrangements have been put in place for the $500,000 loan to be granted - and should be before the beginning of Caribana.
 
He was, however, unwilling to say how the loan will be repaid, and when pressed by Darren Matthew - Ward on the channel that was used to obtain the loan, Nibbs said, " Mr gentleman, every time I come on this programme you try to get me to say, what you want me to say, but that will not happen."
 
He added that in due course, a statement woul be issued to the public.  
And while Nibbs embraces Peter Wickham's poll results, which see him winning the Barbuda seat, Trevor Walker is confident of being returned to office.


Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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Election Paraphernalia at War

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Election Paraphernalia at WarAntigua St. John's - There seems to be a war of election paraphernalia underway in some constituencies, particularly St John's City West.

This has caused some residents concern.

It is evident that supporters for both candidates - Opposition Leader and head of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Gaston Browne, and the United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate Colin Derrick, have been destroying posters and buntins.

One Villa resident told Caribarena that she is fed up with the election campaign, and cannot wait until June 12.

She said supporters and campaigners from both parties are behaving childishly.



"They keep destroying each other's stuff. If Colin (Derrick) puts up a billboard, they (opposition supporters) go and drag apart the poster, tearing away the head part. If Gaston (Browne) people put up a billboard, they (Derrick's supporters) do the same," the woman said.

She continued, "I have seen people pulling down the plastics from around the posts or wrap the plastic over the opponent's own."

Asked if she intervenes when she sees the vandalism, the Villa resident said she tried once, but was met with verbal abuse.

According to the woman, the tearing down of the buntins (plastics) will later cause environmental concerns, because they are left at the side of road and not discarded properly.

"The plastics fly in the gutter and no one moving dem," she said. "Now we are in the hurricane season. If a strong shower of rain comes, I know there is going to be flooding and certain parts of Villa and Point are prone to flood."

The woman is appealing to both candidates to speak to their supporters and campaigners to maintain a beautiful community.



Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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Commonwealth to Observe General Elections

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Commonwealth to Observe General ElectionsAntigua St. John's - Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today that the Commonwealth will send an observer mission to Antigua and Barbuda for the country’s general elections this month.

The Secretary-General constituted the mission at the invitation of the Government of Antigua & Barbuda.

Paul East QC, former attorney general of New Zealand, is to lead the observer mission. Also serving on the mission  Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo, Commissioner with the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

Commenting on the significance of the 12 June polls, Sharma said: "The upcoming elections represent a further opportunity for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to exercise their democratic right in electing their future leaders.



Elections lie at the very heart of democracy and I am delighted that the Commonwealth will be present to observe this process.”

The mission will consider the pre-electoral environment and election preparations.

It will observe proceedings on Election Day, observe the counting of votes and the results process, and will determine whether the elections were conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself to uphold. Where appropriate, it will make recommendations to the Electoral Commission for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.

The Commonwealth Observer Mission will be in Antigua and Barbuda from 6 June, supported by a two-person team from the Commonwealth Secretariat - Mr Tafawa Williams and Mr Linford Andrews, both political advisers.

The mission will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the Electoral Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, political parties and civil society organisations, and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.



Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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More Cash Seized at Airport

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More Cash Seized at AirportAntigua St. John's - On Tuesday June 3, the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy secured another forfeiture order in the sum of £35,220 from the District B Magistrates’ Court.

The amount was seized from Patricia Robinson, a British citizen, on May 22.



The director of the ONDCP expressed his gratitude to the men and women of the organisations/agencies who assisted in securing the forfeiture, and said that “In unity there is strength and the ONDCP will remain committed in the protection of our borders."

Through the vigilance of the airport security, customs, and the ONDCP, the cash was seized from Robinson, who was attempting to leave the island without the proper declaration.



Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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Antigua Participates in Caribbean Week in New York

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Caribbean Week in New YorkAntigua St. John's - Antigua and Barbuda is among 32 member countries participating in Caribbean Week in New York.

Organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), this annual week of activities held June 1 – 7, highlights the sights, sounds, flavors and attractions of the Caribbean region.
 
Antigua and Barbuda participated in several promotional activities that brought together decision makers in the Caribbean’s tourism, travel and investment fields. The week of events included a number of business meetings and networking opportunities as well as a range of experiential events that spotlight the Caribbean and appeal to consumers, media and the travel trade.
 
The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism team created a strong presence at the conference showcasing all that the destination has to offer. The destination was also strongly positioned at a number of high level media events.



At the Caribbean Media Marketplace and the Caribbean Marketing Conference and Awards Luncheon, journalists were updated on the progress of the imminent opening of the new terminal at V.C. Bird International Airport. They were also updated on current marketing initiatives and new hotel developments on the horizon. The Tourism team utilized these key opportunities to increase destination awareness and present business opportunities to travel industry representatives and potential investors in the tri-state area, the largest source market and most accessible US gateway to Antigua and Barbuda.
 
The team also participated in the Caribbean Diaspora Forum, an Educational Seminar for Travel Agents, Caribbean Media Marketplace. The week ended with Rum & Rhythms, a diverse culinary experience that featured some of the top Caribbean Chefs.
 
Thousands of residents from the New York tri-state area, including scores of Antiguan and Barbudan nationals, stopped by the destination booth to learn more about attractions and accommodations that the destination has to offer and to take advantage of special promotional offers.
 
US Director of Tourism, Derede Samuel-Whitlock dubbed the week a rousing success. “We had a very successful week engaging, media consumers and the trade on product developments and the range of offerings that the destination has to offer. Each year we use Caribbean Week as a platform to create a strong presence in our largest source market. In partnership with our stakeholders, our goal is to showcase Antigua and Barbuda as one of the most diverse offerings in the Caribbean.”



Reporting by caribarenaantigua news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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As of: Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1031 (Updated every 15 minutes)
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