Remarks by Asot Michael on the Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 Secondment of an employee

What is meant by the term “secondment”?

The term “secondment” describes where an employee is assigned on a temporary basis to work for another, “host” organization (“an external secondment”) or to work for a different part of their employer’s organization which may be a large organization (“an internal secondment”). On expiry of the secondment term, the employee (the ‘secondee’) will return to their original employer.

Why might a secondment take place?

As the Honourable Prime Minister stated earlier, there are many reasons why it may be considered desirable for a secondment to occur, including:

  • The career development of a particular individual, capacity building and an opportunity to advance his or herself.
  • The chance for an individual to gain some new skills or gain some experience.
  • Providing staff with the chance to work on short term projects and new exciting ones.
  • Providing potential cover for short term absences.
  • Avoiding redundancies.
  • Enabling the employee to remain with the original employer, thus preserving specific benefits such as pension schemes, and these are listed in the Act.
  • If the secondment is external, issues that may arise can be covered in a detailed secondment agreement.

Secondment to a different part of an Employer’s Organization (Internal Secondment)

An employee who works in a large organisation (such as the Government with different ministries and departments within ministries) may be seconded to another section of that organisation.

An internal secondment can be done much more informally and a fully detailed secondment agreement is unlikely to be required.

The only specific issues which will need to be defined in an internal secondment will be the duties of the employee on secondment, their manager, their place of work, and wages and any additional costs/expenses.

Secondment where an employe is assigned on a temporary basis to work for another, “host” organization (External Secondment)

Ideally, on an external secondment (such as a secondment from one legal entity to another wholly unrelated legal entity) the secondee’s existing employment contract should be reviewed, and a written agreement covering the secondment terms drawn up. This will set out the agreed changes to the secondee’s employment and may be signed by all three parties (the original employer, the employee and the host organization), but this is not a legally necessary.

In an external secondment, the individual will usually remain the employee of the original employer during the term of the secondment and not an employee of the host organization. (In an internal secondment there is no difficulty, the employee clearly remains an employee of the original employer).

Care will be taken, however, with respect to an external secondment in relation to clarifying the rights and duties flowing between the secondee, the original employer. We will cover all of these issues in the regulations.

It is vital that the parties understand who (for the purposes of the law) is the secondee’s employer during the secondment term.

Many employment rights, such as the right against unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination, require ‘continuity of employment’ with their original employer.

This means an employee’s statutory period of continuous employment remains unbroken throughout any secondment and all of this is covered in the Act today. The secondee will therefore wish to preserve their employment rights to ensure their continuity of employment is maintained, even if circumstances arise such that the continuity is broken. Ideally, this will be covered in the secondment agreement.

 

During a secondment situation, the original employer will typically continue to pay the secondee’s wages, together with any connected expenses and costs.

However, there may be some costs incurred by the host employer, and it should be clear who is liable for any additional costs of both the secondee and the host employer.

What is the relationship between Central Government and Public Corporations also known as Statutory Corporations?

A public corporation is a “quasi governmental” body administering services on behalf of the central government. But in all cases in Antigua and Barbuda Public Corporations are wholly owned by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the People of Antigua and Barbuda.

 A new public corporation is constituted by statute. Its governing body (the board) is appointed by a Minister and is then given a substantial degree of freedom to conduct the enterprise in day to day matters in its own discretion with the exception of matters of policy which are normally reserved for the minister with responsibility for the corporation.

The Minister retains powers to give the corporation directions of a general character and certain specific powers and this is reflected and enshrined in every single Statutory Corporation Act that has been Law from the beginning.

The corporation typically has its own assets and is expected broadly to pay its own way. Its employees are not civil servants.

 

Most statutory organizations incorporated by statute within Antigua and Barbuda normally receive some funding from Parliament.

The responsible Minister appoints (or advises the appointment) of members of the governing boards; the members will hold offices for fixed periods; the Minister has powers of dismissal and a power not to re-appoint them, and this is in all the Statutory Corporations Acts that are on the Books.   This is not some new policy initiative.

Broad policy control rests in the hands of the Minister; the day to day administrative control lies in the hands of the governing bodies; an indeterminate zone where policy merges with day to day administration lies between.

Also, a typical statutory provision is that the Minister shall have power to give the Board directions of a general character as to the exercise of its functions on matters appearing to him to affect national interest, in the public good.

The statutes creating the corporations confer upon the Ministers particular powers.

I want the public to know, that the Minister is empowered, prior to this Act being passed into Law today to prescribe the form of the corporation’s accounts and appoint auditors; his sanction is required for large schemes of capital investment or reconstruction or public borrowing; in some instances he may advance sums. Ministerial and Parliamentary approval is also normally needed for money advanced out of National Loan Funds for any large scale scheme of public investment or borrowing.

The Minister will be entitled to call for information from the board regarding its activities. The board must present its accounts and an annual report to the Minister.

In most cases the corporations have been expected and required to conduct their affairs as commercial undertakings operating in the public interest.

The formal lines of demarcation between ministerial authority and the board’s autonomy are often unclear. The role of determining policy guidelines must inevitably be shared between the Minister and the board. But the Minister is ultimately responsible to Parliament to report on Statutory Corporations, not the Board.

Legal status of corporations

Public corporations are bodies corporate. They can sue and be sued in their names. Their employees are their own officers and servants. It is doubtful whether any of the corporations is an agent or servant of the Crown enjoying Crown immunities and privileges. For most legal purposes other than liability to rates and taxes a public corporation is treated as an autonomous body corporate, not as a Crown servant.

 Public accountability and extra-judicial safeguards

The main reason for vesting the ownership of nationalized industries in semi-autonomous public corporations, instead of bringing them within the framework of normal departmental administration, was to encourage a competitive spirit of initiative and enterprise  But that does not mean in any way that they are not part of the of the overall Governance of the Administration of the day as they emanated from the Central Government.

The civil service ethos would, it was thought, inhibit managerial staff of the industries from making untried experimentation in new fields; it would induce an excess of caution and addiction to precedent; officials would always be looking over their shoulders.

Hence an attempt was made to insulate the industries from the rigours of the Civil Service by restricting ministerial responsibility for the conduct of their affairs day to day.

Managerial Liberty

Statutory corporations are intended to enjoy managerial liberty subject only to ministerial control in the case the corporation’s policy.

There was to be a distinction between broad policy and day to day administration, the former being the sphere in which the government might intervene and the latter being the sphere if independent self management.

The interests of the public as customers were to be represented by statutory consumer councils entitled to be consulted and to make their wishes known to the corporations.

Conclusion

It is clear that while a public corporation is a quasi governmental body administering services on behalf of the central government and is subject to policy directions from a minister, it is a distinct legal entity, a body corporate  which can sue and be sued in its own name.

 

It is also arguable that a public corporation is neither an agent or servant of the Crown enjoying Crown immunities.

The Government will ensure that care will be taken to ensure that the legal rights contained in the employment contract of current employees of public corporations are not infringed as there is a presumption against interference with vested legal rights.

Persons employed after The Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 takes legal force will be then be subject to the provisions of this Act.

An argument can be advanced that given that a public corporation (being a quasi governmental body) is part of the large organization of the central government which includes ministries, departments and public corporations that secondment from one public corporation to another public corporation is a secondment to an affiliate quasi governmental body and that secondment from a public corporation to the civil service is a secondment within the large organization of government. If that argument is accepted then such a secondment could be considered an internal secondment in which case a fully detailed secondment agreement is unlikely to be required.

The secondee’s existing employment contract can be reviewed and a written agreement covering the secondment terms may have to be drawn up.

Regulations made under the Act will guide this process.

 

Main complaints in the Antigua press (The Daily Observer) about the Statutory Corporations Bill 2016

  • The Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 is redundant. It gives excessive powers to ministers and jeopardizes the security of employment;
  • Too much power has been given to a minister; the Bill leaves employees open to unjust dismissal or secondment and victimization;
  • A minister could do as he or she pleases without redress;
  • A minister can dispatch an employee somewhere (to another post) without the employee’s consent;
  • There are some provisions in the Bill which are illegal in the way they seek to interfere with the sacrosanctity of employment contracts and in the way they seek to place power in the hands of ministers without responsibility;
  • An employee has the right to determine for whom he or she works (and on that basis would have entered into contractual arrangements with his employer);
  • Statutory corporations are individual legal entities and workers cannot be the subject of transfer between them as if they were all part of one entity;
  • Statutory employees fear they will lose security in their employment;
  • Secondment of employees between statutory corporations will breach their contracts of employment;

In summary there are three critical complaints:

  • Excessive powers are being given to ministers;
  • There are Illegal provisions of the bill which seek to interfere with employment contract;
  • Employees cannot be seconded without their consent.

 

Excessive powers

Ministers who are given powers under a statute are required to act within their powers.  We are not laws unto ourselves and should not at anytime act high handed or unjustly.  We must at all times act fairly, reasonably, and with impartiality, equity and justice for all.

As the Honourable Attorney General pointed out, if they act outside their powers they can be challenged in the court by way of judicial review. Remedies available to a person aggrieved by a Minister’s unlawful actions are:

  • a writ to quash an unlawful decision of the Minister;
  • prohibition to prevent a Minister from taking an unlawful decision;
  • mandamus to compel a minister to exercise his powers;
  • an injunction;
  • damages

Furthermore, this Bill does not prevent an employee from seeking redress under the Labour Code or before the Industrial Court.

Illegal provisions in the Bill which seek to interfere with employment contracts

There are no illegal provisions within the Bill per se.

It is clear that before a Minister exercises his power to second an employee within a statutory corporation that he has to consider the terms of an employee’s contract of employment to ensure that there is no term within the employee’s contract which would prevent an employee from being seconded.

If there is a term within the contract of employment of a statutory employee preventing a transfer by way of secondment then that term has to be honoured, otherwise the Minister would be acting in breach of the employee’s contract. But there is no such term a Minister will be able to second an employee of a statutory corporation.

A secondment agreement in respect of the secondment should be signed by the original employer, the secondee and the host employer.

The Contention that an employee is required to give his consent to secondment

Regulation 12 of the Civil Service Regulations 1995 provides that: “An officer on permanent terms may be seconded by the Commission (i.e the Public Service Commission) to a post in or out of the civil service on such terms and conditions as the Commission may stipulate.”  Not the Employee or Officer!!!

Clearly this provision does not expressly state that the Public Service Commission is required to obtain the consent of a civil servant before he is seconded either within the civil service or out of the civil service.

Secondly in the Court of Appeal case of Phillip Abbott v. LIAT (1974) LImited Civil Appeal No. 14 of 1993 Sir Vincent Floissac Chef Justice held:

It was an implied term of the appellant’s contract of service with the respondent that the appellant (Phillip Abbott) will consent to promotions and reasonable lateral transfers from time to time.”

 

His lordship’s position is that there is an implied term in contracts of employment that an employee will consent to reasonable lateral transfers proposed by an employer.

There is no need for the employee’s actual consent to a transfer.

Regulations

Regulations made under section 9 of the Bill will assist in providing guidance on how secondments will be effected from one public corporation to another public corporation and from a public corporation to the civil service.

 

 

 

 

 

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Asot Michael speaks at the Annual AHTA Awards Gala

Honourable Asot Michael Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Energy and Investment Speaks At The Annual AHTA Awards Gala.ocean

 Good evening everyone. I am very pleased to be asked to share a few of my thoughts with this distinguished and accomplished gathering, tonight. As this administration strives to Antigua and Barbuda into an economic powerhouse, the Ministers of Government recognize that the actual heavy lifting has to be undertaken by those men and women who excel in this industry. Tourism is the engine of growth and the industry that will continue to bring us wealth and opportunities.

You have been responsible for nurturing the industry by offering excellent services, and I applaud you for your outstanding contribution to our economic growth. Excellence is our administration’s watchword; and, from the composition of the gathering of workers before me, it is evident that high performance is also the essence of your creed. I applaud each and every one of you for promoting Antigua by delivering excellent service to your customers.

As we are all aware, Antigua competes with more than 20 Caribbean destinations to attract customers to its shores. The easiest customer, which any property can attract, is the loyal customer who so enjoyed the last visit that he will come again and again. You are the key to ensuring that the customer becomes loyal to our destination. And, you have performed exceedingly well.

The evidence of that claim lies not only in the repeat visitor arrivals, but also in the level of satisfaction which outgoing customers reveal. These annual award ceremonies help to strengthen the resolve of staff to provide excellence in performance,always. Managers must therefore seek without surcease to find new methods of incentivizing excellent performance. I am pleased to join in this celebration tonight, since it serves as a clear indication that the AHTA is engaged in a beautiful exercise, filled with the wisdom of experience. I congratulate those who have played a pivotal role each year to make this program a reality. Colleagues and Friends: Antigua and Barbuda has invested in a new air terminal at a cost of nearly $100 million US dollars. We have received very high grades for the excellent standard established by that terminal. We have succeeded in attracting five new airlines that will provide additional airlift.

We have attracted more than US $3 billion dollars of new tourism investment, with the expectation of creating thousands of jobs and welcoming hundreds of thousands of new arrivals. It is our expectation to add 4,000 additional beds before 2020, thereby doubling our current capacity. When therefore we speak of creating an “economic powerhouse”, we refer to this ability to bring-in the investments, to expand the economy and to create new opportunities for investment, even by employees of hotels. You can be both worker and owner of those properties that are seeking capital. A hotel can pay a higher investment return than banks. They are offering 2% while you can earn as much as 15% return annually. I want to congratulate all the winners tonight. Next year,

we want more winners.

In our administration we say that: Failure Is Not An Option.

Thank you very much, and congratulations to all.

ASOT MICHAEL at 4th Annual Sandals Resort Industry

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HONORABLE ASOT A. MICHAEL
Minister of Tourism, Economic Development,
Investment and Energy
of Antigua and Barbuda
4th Annual Sandals Resort Industry
Appreciation Banquet Awards
Keynote Address
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Thursday, June 2nd 2016
Members of Parliament;
Members of The Diplomatic Corps,
Chairman of Sandals: Dr. the Hon. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart OJ, CD CEO of Sandals, Mr. Adam Stewart,Other Distinguished Guests, Esteemed members of the media,

Good evening and warm greetings to all…

I am very pleased to be here for this 4th Annual Sandals Resorts Industry Appreciation event.

I am especially delighted that tonight we honour the best and brightest in the Tourism Industry.

In the words of late US President John F Kennedy: “We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Let me start by acknowledging the diligence and creativity of tonight’s awardees who have not only uttered words, but who live by them.

The standards set by Sandals for its management and staff are extremely high.

Therefore, we know that the awardees are of the highest calibre and they deserve our deepest admiration and our loudest applause.

Ladies and Gentlemen, particularly those who are visiting our shores, I welcome you to this event and to Antigua and Barbuda.

I especially welcome the more than 100 principals of the top global tour operators as well as travel partners and friends of Sandals Resorts.

It is also good to see Butch Stewart and Adam Stewart.

We are pleased to see you in this, your second Caribbean home.

You have honoured us by choosing Antigua Sandals Grande Resort and Spa as the host for this event.

We view that choice as a tribute to our country and to your own high regard for this resort as a dazzling jewel in your shining crown.

Antigua and Barbuda are incredibly proud to be the home of one of a select chosen few of the Sandals Resorts brand. Sandals Resorts has time and again throughout the years, since it was founded in 1981, been the leader in the important tourism product of the “all-inclusives”.

Let me congratulate you on your wisdom and good taste!

Sandals Resorts are the leader – not the follower in the industry. As Butch has said before, “Imitation is not innovation. Exceeding expectations remains the philosophy that drives anything we can do.” Sandals Resorts are at the highest echelon in providing service. Whether it is providing the best beaches in the Caribbean – which we know something about here in Antigua and Barbuda as we have 365 of them – or providing more quality amenities and services than any competition across the world. They are continually innovating and improving to provide the best experience possible to their guests. And, of course, above anything else is the Sandals hospitality for which not only is Sandals Resorts renowned for, but has been recognized and awarded time and again throughout the years.

None of this would be possible without the vision and leadership of Butch Stewart, often called the ‘King of All-Inclusive Resorts,’ the ‘Cupid of the Caribbean,’ and the ‘Master of Marketing.’

I know tonight is not about Butch, but it would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to acknowledge his vision and leadership, without which Antigua and Barbuda would not have one of the leading properties in the world as a draw to attract thousands of tourists annually.

Not unusual, but still incredibly notable, Butch was born in modest beginnings and began working at the young age of 17 as a salesman, where, through hard work he quickly achieved success that allowed him to leave and founded his first business, Appliance Traders, Ltd in 1968.

Through his vision, and belief in this vision, he bought his first hotel in Montego Bay Jamaica, which he renovated and re-opened as the all-inclusive Sandals Resort Beach Club. As we all know, the hotel business is not for the faint of heart, and as providing the best service for all of his guests was part of Butch’s business model from the beginning. In spite of the initial hiccups, he stuck with the plan and through faith and perseverance, was able to build a profitable model for Sandals Resorts. By 1984 he was appointed president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, for his contribution to the industry and has never looked back.

Ladies and Gentlemen in 1991, a marriage made in heaven so to speak was started when Antigua and Barbuda was blessed in that we were the first Sandals resort to open outside of Jamaica. So this evening is particularly special for us as we as a nation are celebrating 25 years of a successful tourism nuptial with the Sandals Antigua Grande Resort this evening as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We in Antigua and Barbuda are very proud that this year marks the 25th year of Sandals’ operations in our country.

It is a silver anniversary that is worthy of commemoration, for it has been mutually beneficial.

Antigua has benefitted from Sandals, and in return Sandals has gained from Antigua.

We have had a ‘win-win’ relationship.

It is that winning relationship that we wish to continue.

That is why, as we are in the final stages of negotiating a new ‘Beaches’ resort, we look forward to reaching an equitable agreement that is fair to all stakeholders.

The Gaston-Browne government is determined to make this country the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean.

As we succeed in that quest, so too will the business sector in our community succeed.

The rising tide that we are creating will lift all boats – Sandals and the new Beaches included.

With a fair and equitable arrangement for a ‘Beaches’ resort in Antigua, tangible and sustainable benefits will accrue to the developers, the investors, and the country as a whole.

There could be no better prescription for another prosperous Butch Stewart property in a dynamic and flourishing Caribbean economy.

We look forward to announcing very shortly to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the travel and tourism industry worldwide, that Antigua and Butch Stewart have celebrated their 25th anniversary with a gift of another world-beating, premier ‘Beaches’ resort.

My friends, I believe it is already well known that the Antigua and Barbuda economy is one of the few in the Caribbean that is growing at an appreciable rate.

We recognise that tourism is one of the main drivers of that growth.

We know, too, that tourism has the potential to be the continued locomotive of our growth.

That is why my government is investing heavily in it.

We want to give the travel and tourism industry, the infrastructure that it needs to build a superior product for the world’s market.

As you know, we have invested in a new airport terminal building with all the latest and most modern facilities.

It offers the latest in travel technology from arrival to departure, from WiFi to one of the fastest baggage delivery times in the Caribbean.

Through this investment have attracted more flights from the US, Canada and Europe.

The success to which these flights have contributed is remarkable.

Thus far this year, Antigua and Barbuda is experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth each month.

This has benefitted the entire tourism industry, including Sandals, bringing a healthier financial performance to all.

We have every reason to be pleased and to be encouraged.

But, we do not regard what we have achieved as anything more than the beginning of a long journey.

We will not rest on our laurels.

We will continue to row with vigour the boat of our economy to the shores of benefits for all.

In all this, I don’t want any of you to be spectators, cheering our diligence and success.

I call on you to join us; to become part of our success story; to embrace the win-win relationship that we are happy to offer.

Now I would like make a few remarks about Sandals and its stellar example of good Corporate Responsibility.

Sandals launched the Sandals Corporate University in 2012.

The SCU represents Sandals Resorts’ commitment to the professional development of its employees by providing them the opportunity to further advance their careers and knowledge.

Equally, the Sandals Foundation is improving the lives and residents in all eight islands of the Caribbean where the Resorts are located.

These investments pay dividends in the loyalty of workers; in their hard work and in their readiness to go the extra mile.

No wonder, Sandals is regularly recognized as the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand, and wins awards at the elite travel award ceremonies around the world.

The Sandals Resorts brand is without a doubt, not just a leading Caribbean hotel brand, but a leading hotel brand worldwide – leading the standard for providing guests the best service possible.

That is why it is especially important that tonight we join Sandals in recognizing those that have been a part of this success.

They are sure to be part of many more future decades of success for Sandals Resort.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in our partnership with Sandals and all the stakeholders in the industry, hospitality remains our top priority; it is intrinsic to our culture.

To all the visiting tourism officials and tour operators, tourism partners, and to the management and staff of Sandals Resorts, we trust that you will shine brighter, and brighter.

Also, we urge you to return to Antigua and Barbuda, hopefully, time and again. We promise you, that with our partnership with Sandals and all the stakeholders in the industry, hospitality will remain our top priority, intrinsic to our culture, while bringing to you the supreme atmosphere in which commendation and appreciation are always part of your experience.

Again I express our profound admiration and respect to all the awardees at this event.

The success that you celebrate tonight is a matter of great pride to the people of this grateful country.

May God continue to bless your efforts and bless our beloved nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

Honorable Asot Michael spoke of regal princess crew.

Government of Antigua and Barbuda
Government of Antigua and Barbuda

I would like to start by very warmly welcoming Princess Cruises’ MS Regal Princess and all her wonderful crew and guests to Antigua on behalf of the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.


It is a real honor and pleasure to receive the MS Regal Princess as one of the world’s largest cruise ships for the very first time to St. John’s Port. The people of Antigua and Barbuda are welcoming you with open arms and warm hearts.

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We would like to thank you for the confidence you have placed in us as a destination and we promise that your over 3,000 guests will have an unforgettable experience.

 Your arrival is incredibly important for Antigua’s economy, so please know we will be taking the utmost care of your passengers as well as your vessel. Succinctly put: tourism is imperative to the success of Antigua and Barbuda and your guests are important part of the equation, and we know it is our duty to provide you and your guests a stay that is above and beyond the caliber of what you expect.

 As part of our promise to improve services on island, our government has delivered on a major promise to tourism partners by signing a $200 million agreement to modernize our St. John’s port and harbor to ensure we’re providing the most desirable product possible to visitors and residents. We aim to become the port-of-call of choice for those travelling to the Caribbean from around the world.

 A total transformation of the port facilities and downtown St. John’s will ensure that our main gateway the cruise tourism industry is the ultimate leader in the Caribbean.

 This development will include world-class casinos, cafes and restaurants, hotels, condominiums, and high-end designer shops. It will be difficult to match the Regal Princess, but we will try. We have already begun the process, having completed the full dredging of St. John’s harbor.

 So facilities and plans are well in place to offer a first class regal service not just our guests, but your crew as well.

            All of this is to say, we hope you enjoy your time with us today in Antigua, and that you will have the opportunity to appreciate our beauty, culture and warmth and that this is only the first of many calls of this spectacular vessel to our shores!

                                               —-End—-

Minister of Tourism the Hon. Asot Michael lauds the commencement exercise of the 2015 Class of the ABHTI

Government of Antigua and Barbuda
             Government of Antigua and Barbuda

It was an auspicious occasion today (Thurs); the passing out of over 80 students as the 2015 graduating class of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel Training Institute (ABHTI). Tourism Minister the Hon. Asot Michael saw the organization and execution of the ceremony held at the Royal Antiguan Resort as first class and commends the Board and Faculty of the Institution on a job well done.

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“I must commend the ABHTI Graduating class of 2015 on the exceptional level of passes achieved in the various programs offered at the institution. The commencement exercise signified the dedication and commitment of the Board and Faculty and I must commend them as well on a job well done,” stated Minister Michael.

 The institution whose mandate is to produce a quality and skilled workforce and professionals for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry is run by a Board of Directors under the chairmanship of Ms. Shirlene Nibbs. Nibbs delivered remarks to the graduates surrounding the team of the ceremony “Never give up on you”, with the commencement address delivered by Mr. Antoine Browne, General Manager of the St. James Club and Villas, centering as well on the said topic. Browne made pertinent points on the way forward for the newly certified tourism industry personnel.  “Do not confuse service with being subservient…hospitality should be practiced every day of ouUntitled1r lives and it goes way beyond the workplace,” Browne noted.  He urged the graduates, “to continue to edify themselves as it takes constant training and retraining to become a hospitality professional”.

Governor General His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams were in attendance at the ceremony with His Excellency presenting the award to Valedictorian of the class of 2015 Mrs. Karen Williams of the Resort Management fraternity.

 

The Honorable Minister of Tourism who presented awards to the top performing graduates in each program module assures his government’s commitment towards the continued development and expansion of the ABHTI in its quest to become the premier Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute in the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

PM Browne joins thousands to Honour United Nations and individuals and organizations for Humanitarian Work

NEW YORK, NY – USA – 29th September, 2015……Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and First Lady Maria Browne on Sunday joined thousands in New York City for the South South Awards, considered the world’s foremost global development event to celebrate the United Nations 70th Anniversary and honour individuals for their global initiatives

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During the event, which honoured distinguished countries, individuals and organizations that embody transformative sustainable development worldwide; particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, education advancement and humanitarian impact, Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne presented a number of the major awards and commended the organizers for recognizing the contributions of individuals and organisations for their work in making the world a better place for humanity.

The event featured some of the world’s leading performers including   keyboardist Ray Chew, music producer for the reality television show “Dancing With The Stars,” and percussion­ist/drummer Sheila E.

In addition, musician Paul Shaffer was honoured with the Cultural achievement Award and lend “the same sparkle and inimitable spirit he gave television audiences for 33 years as the musical director of The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Academy award winners Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, and Forrest Whitaker were among the elite who also made presentations.

We are pleased to present photos from the event which is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations.

Digital photo by Yendi Lynch:

Maurice F. Merchant

Director-General of Communications

Office of the Prime Minister

Queen Elizabeth Highway

St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda

Tel: 268.462.9766

Fax: 268.462.3225

Email: maurice.merchant@ab.gov.ag

maurice.merchant@gmail.com

Antigua and Barbuda and Kuwait Sign New Financial Arrangements for servicing Kuwait Fund debts

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Prime Minister Browne in discussions with Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Foreign Minister Fernandez and Ambassador Aubrey Webson comprised the Antigua and Barbuda team

NEW YORK, NY – USA – 29th September, 2015…….Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board for the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, met on Monday and signed off on a new financial arrangement to service Antigua and Barbuda’s debt to the fund.

During the discussions Sheikh Sabah signaled his country’s delight in reengaging Antigua and Barbuda and expressed happiness from the members of the board of the fund that Antigua and Barbuda is taking a bold step in reengaging the fund. The Chairman also indicated that Antigua and Barbuda can now begin to explore ways in seeking more partnership with the fund and invited the Prime Minister to seriously consider this proposal

Prime Minister Browne said that he welcomed the opportunity to rebuild strong ties with Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. “By being here today it shows Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to rebuilding friendships and reestablishing trust, which was a key principle in his election campaign. One of my government’s priorities is to correct past wrongs, fulfill past obligations and set Antigua and Barbuda on a better path,” he said.

Prime Minister Browne and Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah following the singing of the new agreement
Prime Minister Browne and Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah following the singing of the new agreement

The Prime Minister thanked the Chairman for the invitation for Antigua and Barbuda to reengage the fund, however he cautioned that Antigua and Barbuda’s reengagement will be based on partnerships and investments that have tangible benefits for Antigua and Barbuda without incurring additional national debts.

Discussions were held on the possibility of Kuwait assisting with a sewage system for St. John’s and both parties agreed that these talks will begin in Lima, Peru in October during the annual IMF meeting.

Prime Minister Browne also used the opportunity to invite the Chairman to pay a visit to Antigua and Barbuda.

The new agreement signed will see Antigua and Barbuda making twice yearly payments on the outstanding debt to the Kuwait Fund and it also paves the way for the reengagement of the Fund in Antigua and Barbuda and opens avenues for the formulation of measures for debt relief.

The Kuwait Fund has provided loans to Antigua and Barbuda for the construction and renovation of the parallel taxiway at the airport, All Saints Road rehabilitation and the American Road to Airport road construction.

Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation during the signing ceremony included Foreign Minister, the Hon. Charles Fernandez, Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Aubrey Webson, Senior Ambassador, Sir Ramez Hadeed and Counsellor in the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the UN, Tumasie Blair. (Ends)