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THE YEAR 2001.

Antigua & Barbuda lurched from one controversy to another in the year 2001, as the Lester Bird administration found itself grappling a financial glitch which had threatened the jobs of about 1,200 public employees, reports CMC (Dec. 28, 2001):

Two inquiries -- a full-scale Commission of Inquiry and a forensic audit into the Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS) - uncovered evidence of mismanagement of millions dollars, the sacking of three Cabinet ministers and left the nation angry over the revelations;

Among the probes is one looking into a US$31 million dollar loan funded by the Scheme to build the new Mount St. John Medical Centre. Among the startling revelations was that it would cost the Government EC$532 million to repay the loan over a 30-year period taking into consideration amortization, cost over runs, delays in construction and equipping the new hospital;

Terrorism: The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington not only left three Antiguans dead but also had a negative impact on the economy, especially the vital tourism sector which accounts for more than 65% of the country's gross domestic product. In response, the government offered tax relief to hotels in bid to attract visitors.

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Publication:Caribbean Update
Date:Feb 1, 2002
Words:199
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