ABOUT ANTIGUA

THE ISLANDS

Location: Eastern Caribbean Islands.

At the north of the Leeward Islands, is composed of three islands: Antigua, Barbuda (40 km/25 miles north of Antigua) and Redonda (uninhabited, 40 km/25 miles south west of Antigua). Area: Antigua 280 sq km (110 sq miles); Barbuda 160 sq km (60 sq miles); Redonda 1.6 sq km (0.6 sq miles) Capital: St. John’s

Capital: St. John’s (Antigua), Codrington (Barbuda)

Area: 280 km2 (Antigua), 160km2 (Barbuda)

Climate: Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation. Average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius or 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Time Zone: GMT -4

Official Language: English

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)

Population: 81,799

Literacy Rate: 90 %

Ethnicity: Afro-Caribbean, European and Middle Eastern descent.

Religion: Christianity, mostly Anglican, is the religion of the vast majority. However, there are also Roman Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Moravians, Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and members of the Salvation Army.

Health: The country has a general hospital, a private clinic, 7 health centers and 17 associated clinics.

Social welfare: Free healthcare and various pension benefits are provided under state welfare schemes. Care for the age is provided at the Fiennes Institute.

Education: Education is compulsory between 5 and 16 (primary 5-10; secondary 11-16). There are 45 primary schools and 12 secondary schools. The State College offers technical and teacher training. The University of Health Services, Antigua, established as an offshore medical college, was founded in 1982. Antigua is a partner in the regional University of the West Indies, which provides higher education in several Caricom countrie

VISITING ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Antigua and Barbuda has a wide variety of accommodations, from luxury resorts to smaller, more intimate hotels. The country will be sure to delight you with its sparkling shoreline, rich cultural events, 365 gorgeous beaches and our Caribbean hospitality. Further information can be obtained from the website of the Antigua Barbuda Tourism Authority – http://www.visitantiguabarbuda.com

VISA

Visitors from many nations do not require visas to enter Antigua and Barbuda. This is to facilitate the tourism industry. However, for investors who do need a visa, please contact one of the Embassies or Consulates of Antigua and Barbuda.

Exchange Rate:

EC$2.70 = US$1.00 (fixed exchange rate)

Electricity: 220/110 volts AC, 60 Hz; American style 2 pin plugs

Telephone Code: Country Code (268) plus the local 7-digit number

Driving and local transport: Minibuses are reliable, frequent and cheap; taxi and care hire are available. Vehicles keep to the left. An international driving permit is recommended. A foreign license can be used to obtain a temporary visitor’s permit. Small boats can usually be hired and seats on excursions are booked from hotels.

Office hours: Commercial companies 0800-1200, 1300-1600 Monday to Friday. Government offices: 0800-16.30 Monday to Thursday, 0800-1500 Friday.

Social Conventions: For men, a lightweight or shirt-jack suit, a long or short sleeved shirt and tie are suitable for most business visits. Women tend to dress in tailored casual clothes for business. Handshaking is customary.

THE ECONOMY

Unit of Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), common currency of members of the OECS. The central monetary authority is the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB; headquarters in St. Kitts). Free import and export of local and foreign currencies, subject to declaration.

GNP: Antigua and Barbuda is classified as a middle income country, with GNP per capita at US$8,990 in 2000. Total GNP in 2000 was US$625m. In 2000 GDP was estimated at US$606m.

Annual Growth Rate: GDP Growth Rate approx. 2%

Unemployment Rate: 11%

Inflation: has fluctuated from 7.7% in 1990, 1.3% in 1992, 3.5% in 1994 to an estimated 1.6% in 1999. Last reviewed in 2011 and is at 2.5%

Taxation: The bulk of government revenue comes from indirect taxation. Direct taxes are levied on corporate profits. A wide range of industries qualify for tax concessions. Tax holidays are available for qualifying businesses.

Revenue: Personal Income tax was reintroduced in April 2005

Investment: A capital market with growing offshore banking and financial services attracts foreign investment. Currently, in addition to the ECCB, there are a Commercial Bank, a Development Bank, an Investment Bank, six other banks and several insurance companie

GOVERNMENT

Political Status/Stability: Stable and democratic government

Head of State: H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General H.E. Dame Louise Lake-Tack

Head of Government: The Prime Minister, Hon. Gaston Browne

Constitution: National Constitution following independence from Britain in 1981

Independence: 1 November 1981 (from UK)

Unemployment Rate: 11%

Main Industries: Tourism, Financial Services

Banking, Finance & Professional Services: Antigua and Barbuda is home to a variety of international and domestic banks offering full commercial and private banking services.

International financial services include among others banking, insurance, trust operations and offshore company registration. International financial institutions and companies are regulated domestically by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC).

Domestic banks are regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank based in the neighbouring island of St. Kitts. This institution acts as central bank for the eight islands that comprise the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. These states share a single currency the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.

Banks include Canadian and British banks, and several regional and indigenous banks.

Antigua and Barbuda has a wide range of professional services; law, finance, accountancy, engineering and many other technical fields.

Legal System: Legal system based on the British legal system. The Supreme Court consists of a High Court and a Court of Appeals with the ultimate right of appeal being to the Privy Council in England.

Government: Government is by parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature. It consists of the Lower House of Representatives and a Senate (or the Upper House), both of which have seventeen members. All seventeen members of the senate are selected by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Barbuda Council. Elections are held not later than every five years.

Last Election: 12th June 2014

COMMUNICATIONS

Media: Two daily newspapers – The Daily Observer & The Carib Times published in English. Radio and television services are provided by Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Services (ABS). Other radio and/or TV stations are Observer Radio, Caribbean Radio Lighthouse (Baptist Mission), Radio ZDK (commercial),  CTV, Entertainment Systems (US cable channels) and Karib Cable (cable channels).

Post: A full postal service is available at the post office in St. John’s

Road: There are 384km of main roads and 780km of secondary roads.

Sea: Cruise ship port at Heritage Quay has two recently constructed piers in the capital of St. John’s Harbour, accommodating at the same time 4 of the largest and most modern cruise liners, are expected to receive approximately 500,000 cruise passengers (2003-2004 projection) this year. Cruise passenger arrivals is expected to increase to approximately one million passengers over the next three years.

St. John’s; Commercial port at Deep Water Harbour  has modern and efficient port and container handling facilities, provides regular sea freight services to and from all parts of the world

St. John’s; Yachting port at Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour in the English Harbour area.

Deep Water Harbour, Jolly Harbour and English Harbour now uses the eSeaClear system which allows vessels submitt important documents of declaration online. They are recieved by the immgration, customs and port officials prior to arrival that helps to facilitate a smooth and timely process.

Air: The country is served by several international airlines and charter flights. VC Bird International airport is 10 km (6 miles) north east of St. John’s. International services are offered by British Airways, Air Canada,  American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, Westjet, Condor, Alitalia and Caribbean Airlines. There are direct flights from Atlanta, Newark, New York JFK, Charlotte, Toronto, Montreal, London, Frankfurt and Milan. Within the Caribbean services are offer by Seaborne Airlines from San Juan, Puerto Rico, interCaribbean Airlines from Santo Domingo along with PAWA Dominicana. Antigua and Barbuda is joint owner of the regional airline LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport Services), which flies (cargo, scheduled passenger flights and charter flights) to 26 Caribbean destinations. SVG Air also flies to Barbuda and Montserrat. Barbuda has a small airstrip.

UTILITIES

Antigua and Barbuda has excellent physical infrastructure with reliable water and power supply and modern internal and external telecommunications facilities

Electricity: Electrical power is available at both 220 and 110 voltages at 60 hertz and supplied from single grids on both islands using diesel turbines.

Water: Desalination plants and purpose built reservoirs provide water.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

There is a modern digital telephone system that links Antigua and Barbuda to the rest of the world via satellite as well as efficient mobile telephone services.

There are two main entities that provide telecommunication services in Antigua and Barbuda.  The APUA, a state owned entity, provides local telephone services and Cable and Wireless-LIME supplies international/long distance services. Wireless communications are provided by three different companies (Cable and Wireless – LIME, APUA iMobile and Digicel) with good interconnectivity.  They all operate in direct competition and provide different packages to suit their consumers’ needs.

Internet connections are provided by three competing internet service providers, Cable and Wireless-LIME, ACT On-line and APUA Inet.  All three firms offer a variety of internet options. Digicel and LIME currently offer 4G LTE internet connections for cell phone users.