The annual 5k race held last Saturday was in honour of Maddie Zolpho, whose family attended the event. Several runners came from Antigua to take part. Mr Cuffy hoped more would attend in future and use this as an opportunity to visit Barbuda and enjoy our hospitality.
After Telegraph journalist Gordon Rayner visited Barbuda to cover Prince Harry's visit here, he heard the facts of the De Niro story from local people and decided to cover it. Now the real story of Gaston Brownes' intentions for his Economic Envoy are making headlines round the world - to turn this wildlife paradise into real estate.
There are two cases currently in court - filed by BPM, regarding Barbuda land.
Mackenzie Frank v The Attorney General and the Barbuda Council. This case questions the legality of an agreement made between the Antigua Government and Paradise Found LLC on 28/11/2015. This includes -
1. Giving a lease of 198 years.
2. Failing to provide any details of the project - drawings, financial statements.
3. The illegal procedure of the village meeting to gain the consent of the people of Barbuda.
This case is in the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean; seeking a judicial review of the malpractice of the Government. At a hearing on 26th October 2016, the Supreme Court overturned a Government attempt to have the review for the case struck out, and ruled that it must be heard after the second case - below, which is a Constitutional motion.
This case is a Constitutional motion to prevent the Government from taking up land in Barbuda without the permission of the people. This case is a Class Action in the name of Mackenzie Frank, Trevor Walker and 100 other Barbudans. There will be hearing this week on 13th December 2016 to decide whether this case will go forward. The Government has sought summary judgement from the judge to say that this case has no merit.
Prince Harry was happily and enthusiatically welcomed to Barbuda last week and attended events at both HTS and SMGSS schools. In Antigua however, Gaston wasn't appreciated by the watching British press but we know how much Gaston adores an A lister. 'Despite the fact that organisers of an Antiguan charity event Harry attended on Sunday had declared his romance with Markle was off limits for discussion, the Prime Minister appeared to have missed the memo,' says the Independent. The Prime Minister did not stop there, as Prince Harry was lined up to meet six of the island’s beauty queens Gaston went for that old “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” idiom, to the embarassment of the Prince; bringing more than a hint of that newly elected American President to mind.
In a Press Release today the BPM announced it would be boycotting Independence celebrations on Barbuda. The party cited the following examples of the treatment of Barbudans by the current administration as the reasons for this. But Nibbs is right about buying Barbudans with a cooler - it's all that seems to happen now in Barbuda. A free party every weekend and the rest of the week off to get over it. But this is the plan, eh Arthur?
BARBUDA PEOPLES’ MOVEMENT
C0DRINGTON BARBUDA via St. Johns ANTIGUA.
Tel. (268) 460-0434
24th October 2016
The Executive and general membership of the Party having met and considered the disregard for the rule of Law, the disrespect for the people of Barbuda and the Barbuda Council as demonstrated by the current government administration; we cannot in good conscience pretend to be enjoying the fruits of 35 years of independence. We will therefore boycott all official events connected to the 35th celebration of Antigua's independence. The following list details some of our main concerns:-
1. The incendiary statements made by Prime Minister Gaston Brown and Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin that the Barbuda Land Act 2007 "… is not worth the Paper it is written on".
2. Irresponsible and baseless claims that the "Barbuda Land Act is unconstitutional"
3. Declaring that Barbudans taking action in the Courts Of Law are "economic terrorists" and that the he would use the resources of the State to "bankrupt them" and that "any persons standing in the way of development will be eliminated".
4. For indicating that the entrenched Barbuda Local Government Act will be removed from the Constitution.
5. The relegation of Barbudans to "second class " citizens status again.
6. The rapacious grab of Barbudan lands by real estate speculators posing as investors.
7. The insulting statement made by Minister Arthur Nibbs claiming that Barbudans can easily be bought with a “cooler with some beer and drinks”.
Trevor Walker Fabian Jones Mackenzie Frank
Political Leader Chairman General Secretary
Following the report that students are having to be taught outside because of lack of classroom space and resources in Barbuda, the Minister of Education has been quick to respond. In 2014 Arthur Nibbs shared the same opinion. Nibbs even then told OBSERVER Media that '... currently, there are space shortages at McChesney George and not enough teachers.'
Sir McChesney George Secondary School was built following prolonged pressure from the people of Barbuda to improve education on Barbuda. One of their demands was to have a long overdue separate setting for secondary education on Barbuda. Until then, all children - infants and seniors - went to Holy Trinity together, as in other under-developed nations where minimum standards are not met and excellence in education is denied the population. SMGSS was too small when it was built then and there has been an acute shortage of qualified, interested and motivated teachers for thirty years, which is why most Barbudans who are able send their children away from Barbuda to be educated. And then they never want to come back.
But some Barbudan teachers are returning to Barbuda, to improve education here and with their own first hand experiences of it as children. They will be the positive role models of the future and the inspiration for the next generation, not some official from Antigua.