BPM open letter to Prime Minister Gaston Browne

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The Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) is circulating a letter with questions for the prime minister amongst Barbuduans. The letter is filled with questions about the state of Barbuda’s restoration.

The letter also raises concerns to the Prime Minister that Barbudans feel left out of the rebuilding process.

See the letter in full below:

We the unsigned are all Barbudan or of Barbudan descent. Some of us are living temporarily in Antigua. Others are living in appalling conditions on Barbuda awaiting the rebuilding effort. We all wish to express our deepest concerns about what has been happening in our homeland of Barbuda. It has now been 2 months since Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda, and so far as we the undersigned can see very little rebuilding which has taken place. The situation in Barbuda remains dire there has been minimal clearing of debris from individual homes, sanitation has not been restored neither have essential services such as power, or water. This makes it nigh on impossible for people to live without these basic necessities.

It is with the greatest regret that we are driven to the conclusion that you and your Government have shown an unwillingness to properly engage with the people of
Barbuda in the repatriation process and have also failed to commence the rebuilding of Barbuda. Yes, it is true that there is some work which appears to have begun, but this primarily relates to works being done to the new airport. In our opinion this is not a priority.

We wish to make it clear that we are determined to return to our homes in Barbuda.

Barbuda is our homeland which we have occupied for centuries and to which we have ancestral and cultural ties. At present we are deeply concerned that you and your Government may not share the same determination. In particular we are concerned that you and your Government have alternative plans for our island which do not include the wholescale repatriation of Barbudans to their homelands. In this regard and to re-assure us that this is not the case, please confirm that Barbudans will be engaged in the rebuilding process and provide us with a timeline for the return of essential services and facilities to Barbuda to enable our repatriation. We therefore ask that you provide us with the following information.

1. When are the schools to re-open?

2. What is your Government’s plan in this regard?

3. When is the Barbuda Council going to be re-established in Barbuda?

4. Please explain why an electricity supply not been restored to the island? What  is the timeline for this?

5. In the absence of the restoration of electricity, please explain why power has not been supplied by the use of generators as an interim measure?

6. Why has running pipe water not been reconnected? When is the timeline for this?

7. Why are there no functioning shelters in Barbuda?

8. When is there going to be a functioning Bank or alternatively functioning  ATM facilities to allow Barbudans access to cash on the island without the
need for having to come to Antigua?

9. Why is there no rebuilding of individual homes or alternatively assistance to Barbudans to commence the rebuilding of their home?

10. At the time of writing we do not know of any home which the Government has assisted in rebuilding. If we are wrong in this regard please identify which individual homes the Government has started rebuilding.

11. When will normal ferry links between Antigua and Barbuda be re-established?

12. Confirm that the State of Emergency has been lifted? It was for 30 days and  this has lapsed. The Barbudan people have not been told that the State of Emergency has extended.

13. If you contend that the State of Emergency has been extended please state  under what power this was exercised and for what purpose?

14. What is the audit process which demonstrates transparency, accountability and integrity in relation to the foreign aid and international donations which have been provided for the relief of the Barbudan people.

15. We ask that the Barbudan people be provided with an account of the funds received by your government on their behalf. In this regard we are concerned
that monies which should be allocated to allow for the free transport of Barbudans during this time of crisis is being withdrawn. We have been told that Barbudans now have to pay the Ferry fare – why is this?

16. Please state when the Hanna Thomas Hospital will be re-opened? Or if not in the immediate future, what alternative medical facilities are going to be put on the island in its place to allow Barbudans to return and have access to proper health care?

17. Please state what form of humanitarian relief has been provided to fishermen and their boats?

Again we want to leave you and your Government in no doubt that we want to return to our homeland.

We look forward to hearing from you within the next 7 days with the Government’s plan of action.

Sincerely yours,
The Undersigned

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t there a body called the Barbuda Counsel? The BPM don’t have members on said body? Its very leader (BPM) made clear, a little over a week ago, the real problem is lack of leadership by the Barbuda Counsel (see Walker: No Barbuda Council workers on the ground, accuses body of poor leadership October 16, 2017 Claneisha Gomes, Daily Observer) . Seems to me that even the BPM like the Barbuda counsel has too many persons purporting to be leader

    • Why the need to see the names? The fact that Barbudan have legitimate concerns is enough!
      One more thing, the word is “council”. not ” counsel” Counsel is a verb. Council is a body of persons.
      Please do not throw red herrings to offset the smell of misuse of Barbudan funds!

  2. Listen I am in Barbuda now and this letter is far from the truth. The fact is that not enough barbudans are returning to clean their places and that’s where everything starts. Rebuilding cannot take place unless the people return to clean up their debris then the solid waste workers can remove them. Who do they expect to go into their houses and clean them. There are tents available, there is food provided every day and their are generators being distributed to barbudans but they can’t get them unless they come back. Work is being carried out on the infrastructure but we need the barbudans to return to the island and stop making this a political issue

    • Thank you very much for this post.

      I do not understand how one would not want to be involved in cleaning up and trying to salvage whatever is possible to be salvaged.
      There could be small items even of sentimental value that are in what other would consider a pile of junk even. Only the residents of the homes would be able to make such determinations.

      I suppose the authors may still not be thinking rationally, as much of this letter seems to be wanting the cart before the horse also. Start with actively helping with cleanup and see how that moves things along further perhaps?

  3. Are the Barbudans thinking of anything for themselves? Why the seeming helplessness? Other places got hit and soon as ppl could they began cleaning and fixing their own places. Why everything ppl gotta wait for government to do for them? What happen to insurance? Ppl need to go clean their private properties. Government or Barbuda council should be responsible for restoring public infrastructure and utilities( airport, hospital, school, power and water)
    Sitting down in Antigua and complaining about things not being done is not helping. Go back and help fix all u place!! It will get better much sooner with all hands on deck.

  4. I loose it all roof and all interior am not going to point fingers it’s disaster that effect every ones life so let’s stop play politics get on board come together in agreement both government Barbuda council and the people of Barbuda for the rebuilding and restoration of our beautiful barbuda. The Prime Minister or the Barbuda Council didn’t do this to us it’s mother nature . Rome wasn’t build in a day Barbuda is like Rome it’s going to take time let’s stop complaining and thank God for life.

  5. Why do we always expect the “government” to do everything for us? While Antigua did not have much damage after IRMA, at 6AM I was chopping all the fallen trees in my yard, piling up the logs and raking up all the leaves. By 1PM if you passed my house, it would have looked as if nothing at all happened. We had no power nor water at the time and that continued for days. Barbudans cannot sit here in a shelter and expect someone to clean up their homes or yards, if you want to go there, then go. Go and clean up your homeland, otherwise one day maybe someone will occupy it. Let us stop the political footballing, look out for you, go and sort it out.

  6. Barbudans are behaving like they are on welfare from Antigua anyway that’s what it always been with government workers works 3 hours work days
    The Barbudan need to go home and sort their properties out, alyuh want Gaston to do it. I’m really disgust now with such attitude

  7. Maybe the authors of this letter and others really need to have some counseling. For the most part, these are some mighty unreasonable expectations.

    I am quite taken aback that there is an expectation for the government to clean up individual homes, and also rebuild them.

    The Barbudans know that their houses were not insured, so from where is the money supposed to magically appear? This fact along with the apparent mindset of the Barbudans is why it is really unfair to compare the rate of progress to other hurricane affected islands, who have made headway with pride and cooperation.

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