The difficulty faced by Barbudans trying to get back to Barbuda cannot be under-estimated. There is NO FOOD AID in Barbuda yet, people have nowhere to live, no money, it's traumatic going back to see all your possessions gone and some have children at school or new jobs in Antigua. Fred is doing an amazing job on the ferry - she is the only reliable daily transport and most days there are too many people to fit on. Some want to go to take photographs for their fund-raising, yes really, as if there aren't enough online, some are amazing helpful volunteers, some are from the UN who are now asking for people to estimate the cost of re-building their homes; the army, scientists - but Fred is putting Barbudans first.
The clean-up is going well, there has been a lot of work done by Solid Waste to clear debris and the GoFundMe/helpBarbuda fund is supporting people to go to their homes to help clean up and aid their return. Samaritans Purse have tarped all the open roofs they can. Generators have been handed out to those who have returned.
But the government appears to have prioritised an international airport over re-building homes so we are faced again with legal action to get the answers we need from them about their intentions for the short and long term future of Barbuda - luckily we have lawyers amongst the volunteers. Most other updates are compiled from all the best sources on the net on facebook barbudaful, and on other ngo or charitable sites, most of whom are trying their best to help on a practical local level, with a few crazy ambulance-chasers that are inevitable in a disaster of this scale thrown in to make it more interesting.
Why would you buy back land that you already own? This is the offer on the table from Gaston Browne - $1 for a title deed to land that is worth $$$millions. Of course if you are from Antigua, Jamaica, Dominica, Guyana, the USA, UK or any of our other friends and neighbours living on Barbuda you can see the appeal - wait long enough and you will get what you waited for. If you vote for the right people of course they will always promise you this kind of prosperity. That 'personal gift' of cash you get at election time to bring it home for them is part of the deal. And Barbudans inevitably fall for it too - don't build a stronger house; have a much bigger Caribana!
But now you know - if you want your home rebuilt after a hurricane, you're gonna have to pay it all back to those Antiguan government ministers and their poodles in Barbuda first.
Hooray, hooray FINALLY we are allowed to go back. A formal petition has already been put to government regarding the requirements of Barbudans to return as follows -
FROM THE PEOPLE OF BARBUDA LIVING IN ANTIGUA UNDER THE EVACUATION ORDER
WHEREAS by virtue of a State of Emergency proclaimed by the Governor General of Antigua & Barbuda and an Evacuation Order made by the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda the entire population of the island of Barbuda was evacuated to Antigua between September 7th and 8th, 2017 AND WHEREAS we Barbudans are thankful to the Government for its prompt response and to the people of Antigua for the outpouring of love and support and their generosity in providing accommodation, food, clothing and transportation to mitigate our circumstances AND WHEREAS many Barbudans are anxious to return home to Barbuda to participate in the reconstruction efforts and to restore normalcy in the shortest possible time.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED BARBUDANS evacuated from Barbuda and currently living in Antigua hereby make the following demands:
1. All Barbudans who are prepared to assist with the clean-up effort must be allowed to return to Barbuda and remain in Barbuda for this purpose;
a) In this regard adequate provision must be made for food, medical and material supplies to be sent from Antigua to Barbuda to serve their needs;
b) Barbudans should be allowed to stay in their own homes provided that these homes are safe for habitation, or to stay in designated shelters;
c) Volunteers should be divided into working groups including but not limited to
▪ Fogging crew
▪ Equipment operators
2.A dedicated clinic should be designated in Antigua to serve Barbudans and all medical relief items and funds intended for the benefit of Barbudans should be made available to that clinic to serve the medical needs of Barbudans.
3.An independent committee should be established which would include Barbudans to manage the receipt of material supplies and relief items.
4.A Barbuda Foundation should be created to manage all financial donations from individuals and local, regional and international bodies.
5.Adequate transportation arrangements should be made to allow Barbudans to travel to and from Barbuda on a regular schedule. This should include transportation between the port and the town.
6. All materials and supplies intended for use in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Barbuda, including all generators and communication equipment should be sent to Barbuda immediately.
DATED THE 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
Update - there will be families who are unable to do this if their children remain in school in Antigua and so provision must be made for them to remain in Antigua until a satisfactory solution for education is reached on Barbuda.
Many people have asked where to send local donations ie organisations that are based in Barbuda, or Barbudans raising funds for Barbuda. We started our own fund immediately which was initially intended to raise enough for satellite phones, to avoid in future the long delay, and the worrying and inaccurate communication we experienced. In fact the fund has achieved much more than this and we are now using it for a supported clean-up to enable people to return home, and have also filled two donated containers full of tools and supplies - now being processed in Antigua to come to Barbuda direct.
Other funds are being organised by Barbuda Rise in Leicester, Blue Halo, Barbuda Cottages, Coco Point Trust and the more 'official' organisations are also listed on Antigua Nice.
THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU xxxxx
The unprecedented hurricane Irma has destroyed our beautiful island community. This information here on barbudaful is no longer relevant as all guest houses, bars, shops, homes and businesses have been torn apart by a hurricane so enormous that the world has never witnessed anything like it before. It has almost destroyed an entire area of the world - the Caribbean, so we are not alone in this. All our recent updates have and will be on facebook and we can only try to recover from the trauma of it slowly, and then rebuild.
We are so comforted by the immediate support we have received from Antiguans and Barbudans who risked dangerous conditions to evacuate everyone from Barbuda, before we face the next one - Jose. There is nothing left to destroy but we have left unsecured homes, pets and our remaining possessions to find temporary shelter in Antigua. The support we have received from our Barbuda friends and family around the world has been bigger than any hurricane. People who have visited Barbuda once, long term guests to our hotels, individuals, organisations and many many others have demonstrated their love and respect for us by donating to the various funds to assist us in our immediate crisis and in our long term rebuild. We want to say thankyou to all of you; thankyou soooo much, and we will be back.
As Hurricane Irma heads for Barbuda and Antigua we are expecting a large storm - some even say a 'Super Storm' - that is now at the top end of category 5, with sustained winds of 200 mph and high sea surges. While we are not strangers to hurricanes in Barbuda, Irma is nevertheless a particularly dangerous and life-threatening situation. We are praying for a safe passage through the hurricane season for all people of the Caribbean, and we are sending our thoughts and best wishes to all on Barbuda during this time.
For all news and updates on Barbuda Caribana 2017 - including how to get to Barbuda - go to their facebook page.
The four new candidates for BPM have refused to participate in the setting up of the new Council after all available positions were allocated to two new ALP members in the first meeting, in spite of four BPM members having been elected by the people of Barbuda. The notion of power-sharing here is clearly not on the ABLP agenda. This disappointing and embarassing stalemate has forced MP Arthur Nibbs to look at other ways to continue his stubborn dictatorship of Barbuda. Meanwhile BPM Councillors continue to work on the issues that they were elected to pursue, outside of the imposed Council restrictions until such time as proper participative democracy is returned to our island.
The result of Mondays election proved good for BPM - winning four seats in an election process compromised by the open handing out of cash in the streets by ALP to buy votes, and further by persistent and successful attempts by ALP representatives - ignored by the police on duty - to enter the polling station (Holy Trinity School) throughout the process, intimidating voters and candidates in spite of all in our community being advised by Lorna Simon that this was strictly prohibited.
The long and unecessarily drawn out process of counting the 800+ votes went on until dawn - with the counting of the by-election only starting at 3am.
The results as reported by the Electoral Commission were -
Kendra Beazer (Barbuda People's Movement) 536 votes
Nadia John (Barbuda People's Movement) 508 votes
Knacyntar Nedd (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 499 votes
Mackiesha Desuza (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 495 votes
Wade Burton (Barbuda People's Movement) 491 votes
Asha Frank (Barbuda People's Movement) 498 votes
The results for the other candidates were as follows:
Jacklyn Frank (Barbuda People's Movement) 475 votes
Fabian Jones (Barbuda People's Movement) 475 votes
Neil Gore (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 452 votes
Calvin Gore (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 447 votes
Andrae Lee (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 474 votes
David Shaw (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 424 votes
On Monday 27th March six Council seats will be contested in fiercely-fought Council elections. Five were already planned and Bernie Newton's unsurprising move last month from ALP to BPM has resulted in an additional sixth seat - to be contested in a by-election on the same day.
The BPM’s candidates are Asha Frank (by-election), Kendra Beazer, Jackie Frank, Nadia John George, Fabian Jones and Wayde Burton. The ALP’s candidates are Andre Lee (by-election) Makeisha Desouza, Senator Knacynta Nedd, Neil (Jallah) Gore, David Shaw and Calvin Gore.
Of the six elected seats coming up for retirement, four of them are ALP and two BPM. Last minute roadworks are underway, promises of solar energy, the port of entry, Barbuda Airways (again) thirty cottages, an internationl airport...and another big concert. NO expense (cash) has been spared by the ALP Government to hold onto this Council. The BPM will be having a social.
Support for BPM is strong and growing; the neglect of our infrastructure and the condition of the roads for the last four years is enough. Crusader Radio are apparently streaming live from Barbuda on facebook this weekend and both UPP and ALP officials will be making celebrity appearances.