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Antigua & Barbuda

Overview and Key facts:

Capital: St John's

Land Area: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)

Head of Government: Prime Minister The Hon Winston Baldwin Spencer (since 24 March 2004)

Population: 77, 000 (2007)

Major Languages: English, Leeward Caribbean, Creole English

Major Religion(s): Christianity (predominantly Anglican with other Protestant, and some Roman Catholic)

Date of Joining: 1981

Status of FOI Legislation:

The FOI Act, 2004 was approved by Parliament in October 2004 and signed by the Governor-General on 5 November 2004. An Independent Information Commission is responsible for the general oversight of the system, training, proposing changes, receiving information from whistleblowers and public awareness.

Status of National Human Rights Institutions:

No specific human rights mandate but have an Office of the Ombudsman.

News Updates:

Women’s Rights: On 29 May Caribbean Net reported that the Management Board of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has approved an allocation of US$91,800 to facilitate the on-going execution of the project: Regional Network of Women in Politics: Promoting the Participation of Women in Politics for Good Governance and Democracy in 2010/2011.

The project’s goal is to “achieve gender equality in democratic governance and improve the quality and effectiveness of women’s representation in politics” while its purpose is to “increase the number of women in politics in the Caribbean region.”
http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/antigua/antigua.php?news_id=23382&start=0&category_id=4

Antigua and Barbuda: On 8 May 2008 Caribbean Net News reported that Antigua-Barbuda opposition leader, Lester Bird, and six party members charged with holding rally without permission in contravention of the Public Order Act. The Minister of National Security, Dr Errol Cort, said that "This is a country of laws and it is the duty and responsibility of the police to ensure that the laws are enforced at all times, without fear or favour...No one is above the law and everyone must and will be governed by the law of the land.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 30 April 2009 Caribbean Net News reported that the Leader of the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and former Prime Minister, Lester Bird, announced that his party intends to proceed with the vote of no confidence against the government.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 14 April 2009'Caribbean Net News' reported that the leader of the opposition has challenged the legality of recent ministerial appointments.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 27 March 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the opposition Antigua Labour Party has filed several petitions at the Antigua and Barbuda High Court challenging the outcome of the 12 March 2009 general elections.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 14 March 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the United Progressive Party has won general elections.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 17 March 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that according to the Supervisor of Elections, the Election Commission was not ready to carryout the recent 12 March 2009 general election.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 9 March 'Caribbean Net News' reported that a high powered three member Commonwealth election monitoring team is in the country to monitor general elections. Similar teams from the Organisation of American States and the Caribbean Community are also expected to be present.

Antigua and Barbuda : On 30 January 2009 'Carribean Net News' reported that the political leader of the opposition Antigua Labour Party, Lester Bird, has said that if his party is elected to government he would revoke the current government policy of arbitrarily deporting Commonwealth citizens and offer amnesty to all residents.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 27 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) held its pre-election campaign on Sunday, with its political leader, Lester Bird, calling on members to "redeem the country from the incompetence, mismanagement and corruption" of the United Progressive Party (UPP), and issued a call for all Antiguans to endorse the ALP candidates.

Antigua and Barbuda: On 19 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) has slammed the Antigua and Barbuda Elections Commission for what it has described as its sluggish pace in preparing for general elections, which are due in March.

Antigua & Barbuda: On 5 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the political leader of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), Lester Bird, has written to the Secretaries General of CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of American States and the Carter Center asking them to send missions to observe the next general elections in Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua & Barbuda: On 5 January 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the High Court of Justice of Antigua and Barbuda has assessed damages against Wilmoth Daniel for defaming Peter Benjamin. Daniel is a Member of Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister in the United Progressive Party (UPP) government.

Antigua & Barbuda: On 4 October 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the country's Justice Minister was facing calls to resign over allegations of incompetence particularly surrounding a case in which a specialist called in from the UK to investigate a series of rapes was forced to leave Antigua and Barbuda just as he and his local police team were closing in on the rapist. The Justice Minister's "ineptitude" was cited as a factor in the failure of the investigation.

Antigua & Barbuda: On 16 October 2008 'Caribbean Net News' reported that investigations are underway on ministers and officials of the previous administration who are accused of questionable financial transaction. According to reports charges are expected to be framed shortly.

Antigua & Barbuda: On August 14, 2008, Caribbean Net News reported that the Antigua government is looking at introducing legislation prescribing death penalty for any crime involving weapons. The legislation proposal is reportedly in response to the murder of a honeymooning couple from Britain and the increase of violent crime in the nation.

Antigua & Barbuda: On July 31, 2008, Caribbean News Net reported that the country's Opposition party, the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) has called for the current government to implement a new approach against crime in order to effectively address the upsurge of violent crime in the nation and surrounding region.

 
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