Barbudans are demanding answers from Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his government regarding the restoration and rebuilding of the sister isle, as they lament having to live under “appalling conditions” on mainland Antigua.
In two letters containing a total of 28 questions, the 25 signatories – including members of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM), said it is impossible to expect residents to return to Barbuda when basic necessities such as water and electricity are yet to be restored.
“It is with the greatest regret that we are driven to the conclusion that you and your government have shown unwillingness to properly engage with the people of Barbuda in the repatriation process and have also failed to commence the rebuilding of Barbuda,” one letter stated.
The complaints come two months after the Category 5 hurricane ploughed through more than 90 percent of the infrastructure, making the island inhabitable.
The signatories said Barbudans are determined to return to their homeland and they demanded answers about when the school would be reopened; when the Barbuda Council would be re-established; why electricity has not been restored and when this is likely to happen; and they also want to know when the banks and ATM would be operational; and why is there no rebuilding of individual homes or alternative assistance to Barbudans to commence rebuilding their homes.
Further answers are being sought about why there are no functioning shelters in Barbuda and what are the government’s plans for the new airport.
The signatures represent a cross-section of the Barbuda community,” Senator Kendra Beazer told OBSERVER media yesterday.
In the letters dated November 3, 2017 and titled “Your Government’s Development Plan of the Airport on Barbuda” and “Repatriations and Rebuilding of Barbuda”, the people are further demanding an audit and want detailed accounts of how the funds provided to the government for Barbuda are being spent.
Barbudans also want to know when the government plans to consult them on the construction of the new airport.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne was given seven days to acknowledge and respond to the concerns.
Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) councilwoman, Knacyntar Nedd, met the prime minister yesterday where for the first time, she saw the letters.
PM Browne said he could not comment when OBSERVER media quizzed him about the contents. He explained, “I just got them a while ago, I have not read them as yet. I have no problem whatsoever accounting to them on the proposed development on Barbuda and repatriations. As a matter of a fact, people are resettling in Barbuda already and what I will say to the BPM members is that, if they want to resettle in Barbuda we welcome them instead of them staying in Antigua.”