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Trade Minister calls for national embrace of quality and standards concepts

by Pointe Xpress
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Trade Minister E. P. Chet Greene is pushing for Antigua and Barbuda to fully adopt the principles of quality standards.

Speaking at the launch of the National Quality Awards Programme on Monday at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) at Dutchman’s Bay, Greene said incorporating these principles in all facets of life will go a long way in helping the country achieve the goal of becoming an economic powerhouse.

In support of his position, Greene quoted the National Quality Awards (NQA) prepared by the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards ahead of Monday’s launch.

“The National Quality Awards is a useful way of introducing and encouraging the concept and principles of quality as one of the underlying platforms and tools for business development, service excellence and overall economic development.”

He said while the ideals and principles of quality standard are not generally considered to be “fashionable or popular”, they remain of critical importance as they build upon the sub-structures of the society.

“It’s about empowering micro-businesses, ensuring that there are standards and quality attached to everything they do, and to ensure that at the end of n the day, Antigua and Barbuda is identified as a country where you find standards and quality. That to me is the ultimate,” he said.

Greene noted that it is imperative that Antigua and Barbuda fall into compliance as countries across the region are conducting similar exercises. CARIFORUM has also given a commitment that within the grouping, there will also be full compliance.

“It is not Antigua and Barbuda alone doing this one. Most of the countries in this part of the Caribbean thrive on tourism, so, what we are trying to achieve is to find a competitive edge, to set aside Antigua and Barbuda from the rest of the competition,” he explained.

According to Greene, the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association is not alone in achieving standards and quality benchmarks in the tourism industry which is vital to the nation’s economy. Rather, they are concepts which all of Antigua and Barbuda must embrace.

Greene also named a NQA Committee which will be responsible for implementing a national education programme and to organise the awards activities.

The NQA committee, headed by Senator Shenella Govia, will also include ABHTA Director, Patrice Christian-Simon; Executive Director the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Martin Cave; Ministry of Agriculture representative, Shenneth Tonge-Roberts; UWI FIC representative, Dr. Curtis Charles; Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority representative, Jacqueline Yearwood; Ministry of Trade representatives, Petra Williams and Kyrah Carbon and Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards representative, Solange Baptiste.

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ABWU calculates severance owed to former Jolly Beach workers

The union representing former Jolly Beach workers has concluded in-depth discussions with the former employees of the resort who are to receive outstanding severance payments.

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union met last Wednesday and Thursday with the approximately 500 former employees of the hotel to verify their outstanding severance amounts, a statement from ABWU outlined.

By Friday morning, more than two hundred people were able to confirm the outstanding severance due to them.

According to Deputy General Secretary, Chester Hughes, the ongoing verification exercise will ensure that all employees are paid what is rightfully theirs.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has set aside approximately US$5 million to pay the former employees who have been waiting for compensation since Jolly Beach Resort closed its doors in 2020.

The sale of the property to the government was to be finalised last week, paving the way for payments to begin.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has given the assurance that the money is in an escrow account, allaying the fears of some former workers who are concerned that there will be further delays.

Jolly Beach Resort is set to reopen before the end of the year. It will be managed by Elite Island Resorts on behalf of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

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S. Tamisha Joseph LLB (Hons)

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