Antigua and Barbuda Country Report
Reconstruction following the passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 will be the main challenge of Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Irma destroyed 90% of Barbuda's infrastructure and is estimated to have caused USD215 million in losses, equivalent to 16.5% of the economy, which limits state's ability to provide basic services. Browne appears secure in power until the next election in 2019, despite US allegations of corruption involving high-level government officials and local banks linked to the region-wide Odebrecht scandal. Tourism remains the key driver of economic activity. The country continues to suffer a high per-capita murder rate, largely related to violent contests between local criminal gangs, although collaborative efforts with US law enforcement agencies have led to adecrease in trafficking activity on the islands.
There are no major barriers to international investment in Antigua. Prime Minister Gaston Browne is likely to continue encouraging foreign direct investment. Consecutive governments have promoted investment including the creation of the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority in 2007. Barbuda's operational environment is significantly more challenging. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed over 90% of Barbuda's infrastructure including roads, cell towers, communications, electricity infrastructure, water systems, hotels, and private homes. In January 2018, the government announced road reconstruction works to improve six major highways in Antigua starting in February 2018, and an USD90-million port modernisation project funded partly by China Exim Bank and China CivilEngineering Construction Corporation.
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 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 January 2018, the government passed the Barbuda Land Amendment Bill despite its contested unconstitutional aspects, granting private ownership possible for Barbudans on Barbuda. This bill was passed 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 minor 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 and are often short term and non-violent, posing low property damage risks. Sporadic environmental protests triggered by energy and tourism projects are more likely, as are periodic demonstrations should the government fail to effectively manage the long-term reconstruction of Barbuda, following major destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Small-scale protests have taken place in opposition to land ownership reforms since December 2017, yet the large-scale displacement of Barbudans to Antigua renders an escalation of protests unlikely.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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