The BPM has a long history of representing Barbudans in the struggle for self-determination as an independent Caribbean people who have a unique history and a communal way of life. An improvement came about in their relationship with the Antigua government in 2004 as a result of the defeat of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) government led by Lester Bird, with an alliance between the United Progressive Party (UPP) government and the Barbuda People's Movement. This eradicated at least a quarter of a century of mistrust, confrontation and confusion, but since Hurricane Irma, this has been escalated by Gaston Browne, the current Antigua Prime Minister. The BPM consider that the ruthless exploitation of Barbuda's natural resources are at risk from an ALP government - through past sand mining and the present allocation of huge areas of land to investors who do not have the island's best interests at heart. The BPM believe that Barbudans are being relegated to a second class status in the national consciousness, and the Prime Ministers' recent unacceptable comments about Barbudans - in the context of 90% of all homes having been destroyed on Barbuda in Hurricane Irma, with the whole community evacuated - sadly confirms this.
As a result of the UPP partnership the people of Barbuda embraced the passage into law of the Barbuda Land Act 2007 - which Gaston Browne has since repealed. The Act recognized communal ownership of all lands on the island, and Barbudans' sole right to determine how their land is to be used, developed, and tenured in the future. In recognition of his wish to enter into a partnership with Barbuda, the UPP Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer gave the BPM representative at the time - Trevor Walker, the Cabinet position of Minister for Works and Transport. This recognition brought many benefits to Barbuda, including some major improvements in the previously neglected infrastructural aspects of the island's economy: a new and expanded roads network, a greatly improved electrical supply that did not fail, the construction of a reverse osmosis water supply system, greater educational opportunities for young Barbudans overseas, and radical improvements in the health and social welfare provisions of the Barbuda Council. Chinese government aid to Antigua and Barbuda provided a new community centre and Japanese government aid built a Fisheries building situated in the Lagoon - the most accessible place for local small boat fishers. A Pensions Act introduced into the legislative structure of both islands has vastly improved the level of security for all workers when they reach retirement age.
Since its founding in 1978 the Barbuda People's Movement has fought to bring a bright tomorrow for all Barbudans, fund-raising locally through food fairs and small donations from local people and visitors. Trevor Walker was defeated by Arthur Nibbs of the ABLP (Antigua (Barbuda) Labour Party) in the 2014 general election and the issuing of land to 'investors' began again in earnest under Nibb's leadership, with the De Niro proposal for land to include an unwanted casino as part of a 'Barbuda Master Plan'.
The BPM has since returned Trevor Walker as MP and have won most of the seats on the Barbuda Council, both as a result of and in spite of Hurricane Irma. They have vowed to continue to campaign and to take legal action where necessary for self-determination, equality and justice in this twin island nation as Barbudans step into the future. Read the main aims of their previous manifesto here (PDF version 110KB)
The ABLP is the Barbuda branch of the Antigua Labour Party. It was led on Barbuda by Arthur Nibbs, who was promoted to Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs in the Cabinet of Gaston Browne, the ALP leader and Prime Minister, after winning the election against Trevor Walker by one vote in 2014. The previous ALP leader in Antigua - Lester Bird - is the son of the 'father of the nation' Sir Vere Bird Senior, part of the political family dynasty who led the Antiguan government from independence from the British until 2004. The ALP website is here - Antigua (and Barbuda) Labour Party.
After his defeat in the most recent general election - called immediately after Hurricane Irma had devastated Barbuda and aid was pouring in to Antigua - Arthur Nibbs has remained mostly resident in Antigua, where he has established a charity - the Arthur Nibbs Foundation.
On 1 November 2004 Hilbourne Frank was knighted for his dedication to serving the people of Barbuda in the political field as a founder member of the Barbuda Peoples Movement (BPM) for over 40 years. Sir Hilbourne retired as Barbuda's representative in 2004 and had originally entered politics in 1960 when he lost to McChesney George in the general election of that year. Sir Hilbourne graduated from Antigua Grammar School in 1950 and taught at the Grammar School, the Boys' School and the Holy Trinity School in Barbuda from 1950 to 1960. Then he worked at the Coco Point Lodge and as a legal secretary for Claude Earle Francis until his departure for England in 1963.
In the early 1960s Sir Hilbourne established the Barbuda Workers Union and whilst living in England founded the Barbuda Association. In 1974 he organised the first international convention of Barbudans. On returning to the island in 1979 Sir Hilbourne was elected to the Barbuda Council and became the Chairman, serving as Chairman of the Council on two occasions – from 1979 to 1985 and from 1989 to 1997. He attended the important independence talks at Lancaster House with John Macdonald QC and worked on the Essex Report. More recently Sir Hilbourne has dedicated his life to the pursuit of equal rights and justice for Barbudan people and has personally pursued a number of legal cases to establish Barbudans' rights to ownership of the island's sand and to their land rights and self determination through the Barbuda Land Act.
He served as Barbuda's member of the House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda between 1989 and 2004. In 2004, he retired as a legislator and was knighted later that year.
Trevor Walker has represented the Barbuda People's Movement (BPM) for many years and previously served as Minister of Works and Transport in the UPP cabinet. Trevor Walker was first elected to the Barbuda Council in 2001. He was educated at the Holy Trinity School and was awarded a degree in economics by St Leo University in Florida. He worked at the K Club as the local manager for nine years. His father, Rueben Harris, was Minister of Education for eighteen years.until June 2014, when he lost by one vote to Arthur Nibbs.
He has since been returned to represent Barbuda for BPM with a large majority, after Hurricane Irma devastated the island and the government responded with a land-grab that made international headlines.His win was important as Barbudans young and very old were forced by the Antiguan government to travel back to Antigua to vote in an unexpected general election; in spite of Barbuda being a constituency in it's own right. Trevor's mandate for this term will be to secure Barbuda Land Rights and bring development to Barbudans on their own terms.
The Barbuda Council
The Barbuda Council runs the internal affairs of the island on a day-to-day basis in the administration buildings shown here before Hurricane Irma. The Council was established in 1976 by the Barbuda Local Government Act, which created a council of 11 members. Nine members are elected by the registered voters of Barbuda, with the Parliamentary Representative (MP) currently Trevor Walker and a Senator, who is nominated by the Council, as ex-officio members. The Councillors serve for four years with elections held every two years in March when four seats and five seats becoming vacant at alternate polls. The Barbuda Council administers and regulates agriculture, forestry, public health, public utilities and roads as exclusive powers, and raises and collects revenue to meet expenses incurred in the performance of its functions.
The Barbuda Council has five committees: Finance. Works and General Purposes; Health, Social Welfare and Disaster; Tourism, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs; and Agriculture, Land, Forestry, Fisheries, Coastal/Marine Protection. Some contact details for Barbuda Council have been lost since the hurricane as phone lines have not yet been repaired by APUA.
General Information - the Council People's Progress report
Chair of Council - Wade Burton
Secretary of Barbuda Council - Mr Paul Nedd
Tourism, Culture and Youth Affairs - Ms Asha Frank. Tourism Department on facebook @visit barbuda
Works - Ms Calsye Beazer
Agriculture - Mr Kendra Beazer
The Council does not have a website but contributes this and other information to barbudaful.net. Their full postal address is: Barbuda Council, Codrington, Barbuda. via St John's, Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies.
There are currently two political parties on Barbuda - the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the Barbuda People's Movement (BPM)
Central Government is based in Antigua but Barbuda has its own local government - the Barbuda Council. .
Barbuda is part of a three-island state with Antigua and Redonda. After independence in 1981 Antigua and Barbuda remained a monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and her representative in the state is the Governor General, currently Sir Rodney Wiliams.
Parliament, situated in St Johns, Antigua, consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Representatives (or MPs) are elected by popular vote from 16 constituencies in Antigua, and one in Barbuda. A general election must be held within five years of the previous one. Senators are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. The Prime Minister heads a Cabinet of ministers who administer the state and all legislation is introduced in the House of Representatives and then passed to the Senate for review and assent - this form of government is modelled on the British parliamentary system.
Gaston Browne is the current Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the first time for the ABLP since Lester Bird lost the 2004 election to Baldwin Spencer. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and joined the Caribbean Single Market and the Caribbean Court of Justice on 30 June 2006.