Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New tourism minister for Antigua!

UPP Representative for St. Johns Rural North, John Maginley, will be the new minister of tourism starting this week replacing Harold Lovell. Both won their seats in last weeks general election but Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer shuffled their ministerial positions around a bit. Personally, I think this is great news and we may actually have a minister looking at our tourism forum for the first time in History. Let's hope he does because in this modern age of tourism things are way more complex than the traditional trade shows and glossy ads. There is plenty of info that is never used by the ministry on these message boards and as a regular facebook user Maginley has already shown that he is interested in being more up to date. Another good thing is that he has been involved in tourism all of his life and although i have had problems in Rural North with his leadership there, i feel that he will do good job in tourism. I don't think we have ever had a Tourism Minister who had had more experience in tourism before getting into politics, so things are looking up. Fingers crossed!
On the other hand some of the other movements are not as positive with my good friend and minister Hilson Baptiste being in charge of the Environment Division as well as Agriculture which includes Fisheries. I personally have had conversations with Mr. Baptiste where he eloquently showed his lack of appreciation for environmental protection. There are several projects in his constituency that he has energetically been trying to push through the permission processes which have been failed time and time again by the suggestion of the Environment Division. As it stands now, the Environment Division has no regulatory power at all and is still waiting for their "protection bill" to be passed in parliament. Most of the representatives in parliament are against the Environment Division having real teeth because it would give them power to punish developers and to prevent them from doing ecological damage. Why would they be against this? It's simple. Most government ministers are "lobbied" by developers to get their projects passed and they wouldn't want something silly like environmental protection getting in their way. I personally think that it would have been better for our country and it's environment to put someone other than Hilson Baptiste in charge of that division. Fisheries is another story as that entire division has been corrupted by both political parties and their support for the Japanese in a "quid pro quo" relationship.
I wrote plenty about that here, so with Baptiste in there it will be business as usual once again for sure. For there to be real change we need to have someone like Max Fernandez who publicly said he was and would be against international whaling if he got elected.

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