Paul Nedd has taken up his new position as Secretary of Council and suggests the missing link to improve things on Barbuda is dialogue with the Antiguan Government. But he is completely wrong to say we are totally dependent on government; it's actually the opposite. We are (most of us) independent thinkers, and so we are independent of government, and we have to be. Creating a dependency among voters is their raison d'etre. But since Irma we have been dependent on aid and international goodwill and of course we must move on from that. We have more hope in the justice of the law and the traditions that have sustained Barbuda independently over hundreds of years that now they want us to abandon, than in a dialogue with an oppressor.
It's worth reading this article just to illustrate the total disconnect between the two islands. Samaritans Purse volunteers have rebuilt the homes, the Red Cross have distributed aid, the UN have shared materials. And we are still waiting for electricity which is one of the few things we are supposed to get from Antigua, and a basic requirement for everyday life and for our businesses to prosper.
The sad anniversary of Irma is here. We didn't expect much from our government but we did expect that our basic infrastructure would be well on the way to recovery. Not so - and the Antigua Observer remembers why ...
'Not to mention the talk of a ‘land-grab’ especially in light of a certain questionable clause in a certain sweetheart deal with a certain investor. Of course, suspicions deepened when there seemed to be a prioritising of the new airport project over such things as the Hannah Thomas Hospital, the Holy Trinity School, the restoration of water and electricity and the removal of rubble. Not to mention the downright spiteful and vicious name-calling. Yes, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, words such as ‘deracinated,’ ‘imbeciles,’ ‘in-breeding,’ ‘mendicants,’ and other unflattering adjectives became part of our daily lexicon, much to our dismay. And much to the astonishment of the world!
Read the rest of the article here.
Joanne C Hillhouse of Antigua writes in the Huffington Post....
It has been disappointing observing all this play out, particularly some of the language lobbed at Barbudans (described as ungrateful squatters and, infamously by Browne, deracinated imbeciles') In many ways, it has been the worst of us. I believe that Barbudans, still facing an uncertain future, have been traumatized by Irma and some of what has followed. I wish that we could be Antigua and Barbuda, prioritizing Barbudans’ interests, working together to figure out a future that adjusts for our various shared vulnerabilities — economic, political and climate related.
Yes, so do we.
There is an alternative view of Barbuda's self determination that we could both be proud of. But as was apparent at John McCains funeral in the USA, we have to call our leaders out for what they are.
Big thanks to the Sandals Foundation, who have donated to the Holy Trinity School, which is being repaired by Council in time for the new term. Perhaps they would like to move their resort to Barbuda as well?
...is ready to help, says Arthur Nibbs, a year after the hurricane.
It lasted three weeks. I'm not even going to bother to put in a link.
Construction of the new 'international airport' that was begun days after Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda, while Barbudans were still evacuees in Antigua, and before most had even collected their lost posessions, has been halted by a court injunction until a Judicial Review can be heard on 26th September 2018.
Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers in the UK said about the case 'Steady and unabated land clearing for the construction of the airport has been observed by locals for the last year despite major delays, including the return of essential services, in the island’s recovery from Category 5+ Hurricane Irma. The case, expected to be closely followed throughout the Caribbean region and international community, including environmental and human rights communities, could set the stage for similar action across the islands regarding sustainable development planning and ethical government conduct, both critical areas of public interest. This is the latest in a series of legal actions being taken by Barbudans against the Government of Antigua and Barbuda surrounding the attempt to force changes to the land tenure system and introduce unsustainable and speculative developments on the island of Barbuda'.
John Mussington and Jacqui Frank have filed an application for leave for judicial review of the government’s decision to construct the new airport in Barbuda, on behalf of all Barbudans who have been so disgusted by this disastrous destruction of the environment, forced on Barbuda by the government immediately after Hurricane Irma destroyed most of the homes on Barbuda. The Observer headlines it in their typically uninformed style as 'opposition to progress' when in fact it is opposition to corruption and disaster-capitalism undertaken by the most cynical and greedy government in the history of this country. But clearly Gaston is now feeling the heat...
Barbudans still living in Antigua who work for Council will have to return to work in Barbuda or lose their job - this is the clear position of the new Barbuda Council who have sent a message to this effect to their workforce on both islands. The Government will evict Barbudans from the shelters soon citing the 'damage caused' according to NODS (but we know that some Antiguan officials appear not to be able to say anything with regard to Barbudans without showing contempt for us, and without encouraging Antiguans into a similar state of mind) But it's true - their supporters who are being paid by Council and doing nothing need to get out of the shelters and out of the cycle of hand-outs and vote-buying that causes us so much grief, and go to WORK. Those Barbudans who choose to remain in Antigua who are working hard at their new lives and who are never recognised in the press - we salute you, your tenacity and your future success.
According to the Observer (not known for their accuracy when it comes to facts) NODS (National Office for Disaster Services) are trying to account for all the donations that came to Antigua for Barbuda, and are finding it difficult. Well, that's not a surprise...I'm sure they have absolutely no idea where to start because they are controlled by higher powers who are certainly going to have to make it all up. But there is no doubt that a great deal of it stayed in Antigua and contributed to the Antigua economy to the extent that many Antiguans benefitted from our disaster, and some more than others. It would be an interesting calculation - to see how much the aid given by you for Barbuda contributed to the Antigua economy? In a more organised, self-determining and transparent Barbuda administration, the whole lot should have come to the Barbuda Council. We have sunk to such depths of corruption that it is going to be hard to get back to those days, but we will get there.
Trevor Walker successfully removed Arthur Nibbs from Barbuda politics forever, in the snap general election held yesterday on Antigua. In spite of attempts to prevent Barbudans voting by moving the ballot to Antigua, Walker's election sent a clear message from Barbudans who went by ferry and plane to vote, to the Antigua Prime Minister, Gaston Browne regarding their land rights and his divisive, inflammatory and derogatory remarks about Barbudans. The UPP lost all their seats but one, and Trevor Walker will be one of only two opposition in the new Antigua government.
'Now that man who they call worl’ boss will see who is deracinated, his man is out,' one woman said, as she recalled words used by Gaston Browne, leader of the ABLP, to describe people who objected to the ABLP’s policies following the devastation caused by hurricane Irma in Barbuda last September. 'He will see none of us are imbeciles,' she added, before re-joining Barbudans in the chant through the street...
It was clear that none of the effort thrown at the general election was here in Barbuda for ALP candidate Ricardo Nedd in the by-election, this time held in Barbuda.They didn't visit Barbuda to campaign on his behalf, but this might be because all their supporters are still in the various 'shelters' in Antigua and they would have to organise them all back over to Barbuda to vote. Primrose Thomas (Green) Ricardo Nedd (ABLP) and Calsey Beazer (BPM) contested seats. Calsey Beazer won by a large majority, emphatically confirming the direction in which the people currently resident on Barbuda want to go.
'... a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence we do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals' Lucy Parsons.
We still await the judges decision about whether Barbudans who returned to live on Barbuda now have to go back to Antigua to vote in the snap general election. Are we no longer a recognised consituency? How will they get almost 450 of us to Antigua on the day when the ferry depends on the weather and SVG cancel flights on a whim? Who will assist the people who are older or who have children to look after? Is this a day trip or are we staying the night. Those of us who have returned to live in Barbuda will certainly travel to vote but it's looking like a rather desperate and misguided attempt to effect the election result they need - to remove Barbudans permanently from their communal land.