From left: Cardigan Connor, Cora Richardson-Hodge, Victor Banks, Curtis Richardson and Evans McNiel Rogers.
ANGUILLA–Chief Minister Victor Banks opened the October 23 press conference by referencing the just signed airport expansion memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).
He said, “Today we had a historic signing because the airport project now includes the Canadian government as a stakeholder in its delivery. We are very happy to know that this includes financing aspects of the early development in terms of the analysis and research required for the business case.” The business case will include whether the lands identified to be used for the expansion are geographically capable to support an airport runway. Banks added that the CCC is the agency currently involved in the US $250 million Bermuda airport expansion project.
Banks went on to say that he and his team had just recently returned from a Town Hall meeting in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. He clarified that the meeting had nothing to do with the 2020 elections which will be held no earlier than April 28, 2020, and no later than June 28, 2020. He stated that his team was into the third year of its five-year term, and although it had suffered some setbacks to include Hurricane Irma, it was on track to deliver a very large percentage of what had been promised.
Banks discussed Anguilla’s debt, noting, “The Ministry of Finance publishes a quarterly bulletin that clearly shows level of debt, and points out that the government of Anguilla is currently meeting its debt commitments and will continue to do so into the future.” He said the 2018 economic trajectory looked exceedingly good, and the National Commercial Bank of Anguilla (NCBA) bridge bank was also performing extremely well. He also congratulated the Anguilla United Movement (AUM) party on their launching of its candidates for the 2020 election.
Minister of Home Affairs, Cora Richardson-Hodge provided updates on the progress of constitutional amendments. She said, “We have been engaging in constitutional reform for many years as our current amended constitution is dated 1990. Recently, the United Kingdom government made a decision to engage in a year-long review of the status of Overseas Territories (OTs) that will impact how Anguilla and the other OTs are treated. So in the interim, we have decided to not engage in wholesale constitution reform at this stage, but to make proposals for amendments to the existing constitution.” Among those issues will be the at-large voting for the 2020 election as well as expanding the status of “Belongership” to include grandchildren. These proposals have been accepted by the UK and finalised. A public meeting is currently being organised to be held next week.
Hodge also said the updates to the Labour Relations Act concerning employer and employee relationships would be discussed at the Teachers Resource Centre on Wednesday, October 24, at 5:30pm, and she encouraged both employers and employees to attend. Key issues on the agenda were to be vacation days, severance pay and one-year employment contracts.
Also discussed were the continuing infrastructure upgrades to the Blowing Point ferry port in order to be completed in time for the beginning of the 2018-2019 tourist season, as well as the continuing construction additions and upgrades to the Princess Alexandria Hospital with an upcoming opening set for mid-November.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82000-chief-minister-pleased-with-mou-on-airport-expansion