The Minister of Communications in the Caribbean island nation of Anguilla has assured greater recognition for Amateur Radio operators and their work, according to an article this week in The Anguillan. Minister Curtis Richardson made the commitment during a talk to the Anguilla Amateur Radio Society (AARS) in observance of World Amateur Radio Day, April 18.
“I think the time has come to seriously consider duty-free concessions for members who import ham radio equipment for use in the service of the country,” the newspaper quoted Richardson. “[This is] on condition that they have bona fide membership in the Anguilla Amateur Radio Society, are in good financial standing, and are committed to volunteering with the Emergency Operations Centre, Red Cross, and other places when and where their service is required.”
AARS President Keith Greaves, VP2EKG, said the club organized the roundtable discussion with top government officials to discuss greater recognition for Amateur Radio operators on the island, duty-free concessions on ham radio gear, and a special ID card for ham radio operators. Richardson told the club that he’s considering the issuance of identification cards — similar to a driver’s license — for ham radio operators sanctioned by the Ministry of Communications. In addition to Richardson, the club invited the island’s British Gov Christina Scott, as well as representatives from law enforcement, the Red Cross, commercial telecom providers, the Department of Disaster Management, the Public Utilities Commission, and security agencies.
Richardson said Amateur Radio volunteers have played a vital role in providing reliable communication in the event of disasters, especially when other communication modes were down. “From all accounts, the local radio society provides a critical link with the outside world,” Richardson said. Gov Scott also thanked the Anguilla Amateur Radio Society for helping during emergencies by supporting communication.
Greaves said the club, established in the mid-1970s, works closely with the Department of Disaster Management, law enforcement, and the Red Cross in disaster and emergency situations, especially during the Atlantic hurricane season from June to November each year. — Thanks to The Anguillan and IARU Region 2