“Everything is not for free,” was the response of government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst when asked about the rebuilding of Barbuda and the distribution of donated building supplies to residents of the sister island.
The 62 square mile island was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in early September and residents were evacuated to Antigua. Reports are that 95 per cent of the island was devastated, with only a small percentage of the homes left standing and intact.
Hurst said the majority of the building materials, which the government received from a number of regional and international bodies, will go towards rebuilding government structures first.
“The whole idea behind the materials that we have begged is so that we can repair government institutions first. We have to repair the schools, the hospital, the airport terminal, the clinic, we have to repair just all the government institutions, the police station and so on. We have to finish the justice complex and so on, so we are doing government buildings,” Hurst told Antigua News Room (ANR).
Hurst said the Gaston Browne administration will do all in its power to assist Barbudans rebuild their properties, but added that they should also seek to get finances to rebuild through the banks.
Hurst noted that there are over 500 houses on Barbuda and there is not enough material to rebuild all those properties.
He noted though that priority would be given to business owners-store operators, persons who sell food-as the government wants to get some commerce back on the island.
The chief of staff said that without commercial enterprise there, Barbudans would not be able to inhabit the island.