MP Trevor Walker rightly speaks out about the lack of accountability from Government with the aid money they have received on our behalf, and the continuing use of derogotary terms about Barbudans. We are no longer Antigua's 'sister' island. We heard about the containers that had to be thrown away in Antigua because they were going to have to pay duty on aid, we know that many Antiguan businesses had windfalls from aid materials purchased by or for Barbudans, and we know that we don't get what was given to us. We have witnessed much nicer friends and family elsewhere, so as that work progresses on Barbuda, we should recognise that we have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity to change everything for the better, to move away from some of the self-destructive behaviour we have engaged in, in the past. This came at a big price for Barbuda. Can we do it Trevor?
Work is nearly completed on HTS and children should be able to return in September. A blessing. At last. Thanks must go to all those who sent school supplies, raising money in their own schools around the world to help. And to all those other bigger donors, charities and organisations who send funds direct to Barbuda for education at pre-school level, secondary school level and for adult Barbudans to be trained in other countries. And thanks to those who returned early to live in Barbuda who worked on re-building everything, including setting up the temporary school.
Education for ALL is the key to Barbuda's progress, and we waited too long for this.
This is the kind of reporting that some in the Antiguan media seem to like about Barbudans, the 'theft of water' (really ???) and as many other negatives they can get in one article. If you lost everything (Antiguans didn't) If your children had to go to another school because your school hasn't been rebuilt yet (Antiguans haven't) If you STILL HAVE NO ELECTRICITY (like me) two years after the hurricane, if your home is still without a roof, if your aid has been kept in Antigua. Why shouldn't you expect support from your government? But no, we are still ruffians, still begging...So the best thing to do Barbudans, is to come away from all that - it can only lead to problems. Unless you are a die-hard Government supporter of course, in which case you must be dotish, because they will claim you were 'put up in a hotel' at a cost of $$$m's of our aid money.
The Barbudaful website is happy to announce that it has applied for and been awarded a grant from the Barbuda Resilience Fund supported by ICF, to update the website over the next year, after devastating Hurricane Irma made the whole site irrelevant overnight.This will include a new template that brings the site up to date with the ever-changing demands of technology and security. It also includes much needed time to correct broken links, out of date entries and update information. There will be new postcards for all subscribers to promote their entry. If you are already on the site you will receive the new cards soon - if you are not on the site, you should be!
The website grant was administered by BarbudanNGO, who are an umbrella organisation in Barbuda able to accept funding on behalf of individuals or organisations who are too small to have charitable status. They are happy to help any Barbudan access funding if you have a grant you would like to apply for. Here's one I found earlier.
While I was looking up a helpful link for this news, I found there is still a link to the 'Barbuda Relief and Re-building Fund' on the home page of the Government information page with a donate button and a video of 'Barbuda after Irma.' The video unsurprisingly, doesn't work, because if it did, it would have to show the lack of accountability for our aid money, the tents that are still up, the lack of electricity in most of the village and a poor water supply, nver mind no bank and countless other things that we still endure nearly two years later.
But anyway, if you have an Antigua and Barbuda passport and you are a Belonger - you need to get a new one. If you are not sure whether you are a Belonger or a Non-Belonger, read this it might help, it's about the BVI.
There are currently three (3) cases before the Courts, two are in the Appeal section and one at the High Court level.
1.Trevor Walker, Mackenzie Frank, Wayde Burton and Barbuda Council v Attorney General
1.1 This case was filed in the high court in Antigua in October 2018 and challenges the repeal of the Barbuda Land Act 2007 and the Barbuda Act 2018, which replaced the 2007 Act.
1.2 The provision of the 2007 Barbuda Land Act was "to confirm that all lands in Barbuda are owned in common by the people of Barbuda" And to "vest the land in the crown on behalf of the people".
1.3 The Council is part of the action because its powers to administer lands were taken away by the Crown Regulations Act 2018.
1.4 An injunction to prevent the Government implementing the new Act was denied in December 2018, on the grounds that a hearing would take place in January 2019. The hearing did not take place and Justice Olivette has left the jurisdiction.
- 2016 Trevor Walker, Mackenzie Frank and 110 Petioners v Attorney General and Paradise Found
2.1 This case is a Constitutional motion. It was filed in June 2016 in the High Court of Antigua. It challenges the provisions of the Paradise Found Act 2015. This Act tried to give Robert De Niro and James Packer:
I) A lease for 140 years
2) Additional lands totalling 555 acres
3) Circumvention of the 2007 Barbuda Land Act which requires the people's consent be given before any land can be alienated.
2.2 There has being a judgement in this case - Justice Roslyn Wilkinson ruled that:
a) that the land is owned in common by the people
b) that the land is vested in the Crown as a Trustee for all Barbudans present and future.
c) that all Barbudans have an individual and collective right to lands in Barbuda.
d) that the Government has a fiduciary responsibility to the people, to protect their interest in the land, inform them of any proposed changes and seek their consent.
2.3 The Antiguan Government has appealed this judgement. The case is awaiting a decision from the Appeals section of the Eastern Caribbean Court. The final court of appeal is the Privy Council in London.
- 2015 Mackenzie Frank v Attorney General, Barbuda Council and Paradise Found.
3.1 This case sought Judicial review of lands totalling 1255 acres given to Paradise Found without following the procedures set out in the Barbuda Land Act 2007.
3.2 These procedures include:
a) publication of the project proposal 15 days before the village meeting
b) supply of drawings, financial projections, design of buildings.
c) proper voting at meeting including a secret ballot.
d) period of lease restricted to 50 years in first instance.
e) only Barbudans are allowed to vote.
All the above rules were broken.
3.3 Judge Brian Cottle ruled in favour of the Government. This judgement was appealed. It will remain in the Appeal court until the above Constitutional case is decided.
Thirty Barbudans travelled from Barbuda to Antigua at their own expense to protest about the time it is taking ACB to return banking services to Barbuda, almost 18 months after the hurricane. Other protesters joined us there and there were many supporters watching, as they discovered we usually have to pay a $220 return fare to come to the Antigua branch to pay in a cheque! We reminded the bank that they have a duty to their customers in Barbuda as well as in Antigua. The bank in Barbuda remains in a derelict state with an ATM that only dispenses $100 ec at a time, if it works at all. Visitors cannot access money for tours and accommodation, stifling our economy. The bank appeared to be embarrassed by the protest but no one from the bank made any statement to the protesters. Meanwhile, their 'loyal customers' are looking elsewhere for new accounts.