Antigua and Barbuda Country Report
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has prioritised reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, which destroyed 90% of Barbuda's infrastructure and caused around USD215 million in losses, equivalent to 16.5% of the economy. Browne secured another mandate in the general election on 21 March 2018, with a majority in parliament, which he called over a year early to provide stability for investors. The ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party actively promotes tourism as a driver of economic activity, which has been met with some political opposition, especially for planned developments on Barbuda. The islands' high per-capita murder rate is largely related to inter-gang crime, while collaborative efforts with US law enforcement agencies have reduced traffickingactivity.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne encourages foreign direct investment, especially in the tourism sector. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed over 90% of Barbuda's infrastructure including roads, electricity infrastructure, water systems, hotels, and homes. In early 2018, the government announced the reconstruction of major highways in Antigua and a USD90-million port modernisation project funded partly by Chinese firms, while continuing with the legally challenged Paradise Found hotel project for Barbuda. In August 2018, Browne said the government was eager to continue constructing an international airport on Barbuda, despite an injunction case by opposition in Barbuda, although costly delays are likely.
The risk of terrorist attacks is low. There are no known local terrorist groups, or international organisations with the intent of conducting armed attacks in Antigua and Barbuda. The government is working on a framework regarding anti-money laundering and combatting terrorism financing. In 2018, the government proposed a money-laundering prevention amendment bill to seek to improve the monitoring of financial activities.
The union between Antigua and Barbuda is strong. The Coast Guard often stops and searches ships in anti-drugs operations, but seldom uses force. There are no territorial disputes, despite tensions between both islands over land rights in Barbuda after the 2017 hurricane. In 2018, the government proposed a land amendment bill, without prior public consultation and despite contested unconstitutional aspects, to allow the government to manage Barbudan land. This bill was drafted as part of government efforts to improve reconstruction yet there has been opposition from within government as it excludes Antiguan rights to purchase land in Barbuda. The risk of interstate war is negligible despite these disagreements.
The risk of large-scale violent protests is low, with no major unrest since the 1995 tax riots. Although 75% of workers are unionised, strikes are relatively uncommon, short, and non-violent, posing low property damage risks. Sporadic environmental protests triggered by energy and tourism projects are more likely, as are demonstrations should the government fail to effectively manage Barbuda's reconstruction, following major destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. There have been small-scale protests in opposition to land ownership reforms and changes to the Medical Care Act, yet the large-scale displacement of Barbudans to Antigua renders an escalation of protests unlikely.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Antigua and Barbuda. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Hurricane season extends from June to November, with peak activity in mid-September. Powerful storms can cause significant material damages as well as disruptions to transportation. If a storm is forecast, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities; storms are systematically tracked by the US-based National Hurricane Center, which publishes forecast storm trajectories and associated warnings on its website.
The eastern Caribbean region, where Antigua and Barbuda is located, is in a seismic zone and earthquakes may occur.
Roads are often narrow and winding and many are poorly maintained, making driving conditions relatively hazardous; be particularly vigilant on tertiary and rural roads. Visitors should note that cars travel on the left-hand side of the road and that visitors are required to obtain a temporary Antiguan driver's license before driving.
Taxis do not have meters; fares should be decided on prior to departure.
Public transportation is safe and inexpensive.
The climate is tropical with temperatures mitigated by trade winds that blow all year long (with the exception of September) across the island nation. Humidity is low and days are sunny throughout the year, with temperatures the highest between May and November.
|Country Code:||1 268|
Voltage: 230 V ~ 60 Hz