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Japan Gives US$800,000 OECS Eyes Development of Aid Package to Antigua Biometric Swipe Card

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The deal was signed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Japanese Ambassador Yoshimasa Tezuka and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan Takashi Uto.

he Antiguan Government signed a grant worth US$800,000 with Japan as assistance for disaster reduction equipment and improving fishery equipment and machinery.

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Japanese Ambassador Yoshimasa Tezuka and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi Uto inked the deal.

Dr Didacus Jules Director General

he Organization of Eastern States (OECS) Commission has announced new measures to make the free movement of people even easier.

Director-General of the OECS Commission, Dr. Didacus Jules, said the regional integration movement is progressing admirably. “We have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way as well,” he said. “I think we need to take a balanced perspective, and the truth is, within the overall project of Caribbean regional unity, the OECS is far ahead.” In the OECS, there is no need to obtain a skills certificate to move and live in any member state; and a driver’s license allows citizens to drive anywhere in the sub-region. Dr. Jules said the Commission is taking integration one step further with a biometric swipe card that will make travel between member states hassle free. “We have already designed a single biometric ID card that contains all the information that is required so that in the near future, with the issuance of these cards, people from the OECS will not even have to fill out immigration cards to move – you just swipe and you move.” The OECS recently celebrated the 34th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre. ¤

Browne said many of the fisheries facilities provided by Japan would be upgraded with the funds. “Many of them have ice facilities that are not working and after receipt of this grant, we’ll be in a position to provide new ice facilities in which we can provide ice at a subsidized rate to our fishermen,” Browne said. The Prime Minister told the Japanese delegation the country will continue to support Japan in the international arena. “We continue to support you in the international forum, even on the controversial issue of whaling and we do so knowing that you have been a good development partner to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda. You can be assured of our continued support as we continue to collaborate on many international issues, including the issue of reform of the United Nations,” Browne said. Uto meanwhile, speaking through a translator, said Japan is willing to provide assistance to Antigua & Barbuda despite its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita ranking that restricts the country from receiving financial assistance from several countries. “The Japanese government has said that the policy, which is also inscribed in the new development cooperation charter that Japan will provide assistance considering the vulnerabilities particular to small island countries and we will provide assistance regardless of the GDP per capita level,” Uto said. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug

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St. Lucia Business Focus 82  

Our special feature in this issue is the 10th Anniversary of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. which has grown into a regional powerho...

St. Lucia Business Focus 82  

Our special feature in this issue is the 10th Anniversary of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. which has grown into a regional powerho...

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