The Antigua Barbuda Labour Party councillors on the Barbuda Council have written to the chairman warning him against forcing council workers to the hurricane-ravaged island.
The two councillors said in a news release today that while they support the rebuilding effort of Barbuda and the return of Barbudans to their home, “we do not think that this should be done at the expense of Barbudans simply for political gain, self-acclamation or any other form of grandstanding.”
The elected offcials said it would appear that the decision to forcibly have Barbudans or more specifically all employees of the Barbuda Council return to Barbuda by July 1st 2018, was not carefully thought out or planned.
In addition, they say there was a lack of consultation on the matter.
The ABLP members of the Barbuda Council say they support a phased approach which would allow persons to participate in the rebuilding effort without placing undue hardship on them and their families.
“We are disappointed to say the least, that up to the present time critical questions, as it relates to Council employees returning on said date cannot be issued or various matters addressed,” their release noted.
Further, the councillors argue that no information is being given regarding placements in shelters.
One week away and there appears to be no proper plan for the returning workers of the Council that are lacking some, most or in some cases all of the basic amenities, according to the ABLP members.
They warn that the increase of the population on Barbuda will heighten the risk of medical emergencies,” the most feared is the absence of a night time evacuation plan.”
They want answers to several questions.
How will this be dealt with? What provisions are there for feeding persons within the shelter(s) and also persons outside of the shelter that may not have electricity, will fuel subsidies be given to persons that require the use of generators? What provisions have been made for those persons whose homes that have not been repaired and cannot be accommodated in the shelters? or is it that these persons are expected to live in tents during the rainy season?
The ABLP councillors are also alleging that there have been forms of biasedness taking place, where the selection of persons that will occupy the shelter(s) are concerned.
“We the ABLP members are requesting the list of persons that have been selected to occupy the shelter(s) and also an outline of the process and criteria that was utilized for those persons in an effort to dispel these rumours and bring some form of transparency to the process.”
A concern has also been expressed about the Hanna Thomas Hospital which is not yet not fully operational and is not expected to be for at least another 8 weeks and the resident doctor on Barbuda has stated that he “highly advises against the return of women and young children to Barbuda for permanent residency at this time”.
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