First, I have to wonder (again) about what the newspaper editors do. The front page of the Sunday Sun celebrates 'golden girls', two sisters who have passed 100 years of life. They are described as 'from a family of long livers'. Now, I have mentioned before that my wife has a keen eye. "What does the size of the liver have to do with how long you live?" she asked me. I am no doctor, so I do not know. Maybe the Editor can elaborate tomorrow, and perhaps explain if what was meant was that the ladies came from a family of long lifers. That said, let me pass on my congratulations to the two ladies and wish them many more happy years of life.
I had seen the announcement on July 1 that the Prime Minister was going to take two months' leave from his duties as prime minister, and that the time would be spent outside Barbados (see Nation report). I was puzzled by the associated statement that Mr. Freundel Stuart (already Deputy Prime Minister) was going to hold the reins of government and the PM 'was devolving on him the authority to make whatever decisions he deemed necessary “to keep the social and economic ship of state on even keel”': I thought that was already a given. A news report later passed my eyes that Barbados had a new Attorney General (Adriel Brathwaite, MP for St. Philip South), and that this was not an 'acting' position but substantively taking over the ministerial portfolio up to then held by Mr. Stuart. I was confused, but accepted that from a distance I might not have grasped the right impression, yet wondered if a similar change would soon come regarding the portfolio of Finance Minister (held by the PM). However, Ezra Alleyne put better than I could several constitutional issues in his Focus column today, 'Constitution and power of the PM'. He may not be correct but he poses what, I think, are some valid questions about what is the real constitutional situation underlying the various changes resulting from the PM's leave from duties. While those matters are pondered, however, I would like to add my good wishes to the PM and hope that his time abroad will help resolve his medical problems.
Lastly, I read The Barbados Advocate front page 'No letting up on lobby against APD'. My question from a long time ago has been why the Caribbean Tourism Organization finds the UK's airline passenger duty (APD) contentious but does not seem to find as contentious the seemingly high passenger duties levied by regional countries on intra-regional air travel. I recall a detailed article on these levies written by Adrian Loveridge, where he pointed to the stunningly high level of these taxes but also that they were far higher than taxes levied on cruise travel.