Gov’t will not bow to pressure from Barbudans, says Joseph

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Molwyn Joseph

The government is making it clear that it will not bow to public pressure to return Barbudans to an unsafe and unhealthy environment on the sister island.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, attended by several technicians in the Ministry of Health including Chief Health Inspector Lionel Michael and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rhonda Sealey Thomas, Health and Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph said returning Barbudans to the island at this time poses serious health risks.

He said there is a lot of work to be done to make the island safe for residents to return there. There is stagnant water all over Codrington which act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which transmit dengue, Zika, yellow fever and Chikungunya.

Joseph said there is also the risk for the spread or Leptospirosis from the large volume of animals on the sister island. This disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans from direct exposure to animal droppings and urine or indirectly from environments contaminated by them such as rivers canals or lakes.

“As far as the government is concerned and the ministry, we do not intend to yield to any suggestion that we should allow Barbudans to return to Barbuda before we are able to put in place some temporary measures to protect health, physical health and protect them from the spread of diseases,” Joseph said.

“That is really not an option at this time, and therefore it is important for us to explain to the Barbudans in particular why we are not allowing Barbudans to go and stay in Barbuda for any length of time or go in large numbers,” he added.

Joseph said the government does not intend to have workers in Barbuda before a temporary clinic is erected in Barbuda. Hurricane Irma destroyed the clinic.

He noted that there must be some sort of health facility on the island in case there is a medical emergency as people seek to restore the hurricane-ravaged island back to some normalcy.

“There is no clinic in Barbuda, there is no hospital in Barbuda, there is no running water in Barbuda, there is hardly any shelter in Barbuda and there is no provision in Barbuda at this time where if you have an emergency there is no airlift from Barbuda to Antigua, it’s not in place.

“We are planning to have all these things in place so that people who go to Barbuda, if they get an injury that can be handled in Barbuda, the facility should be there. If they need to be airlifted out of Barbuda to Antigua we want to make sure that the arrangement is in place, that is something we are discussing now,” the health minister said.

Minister Joseph Barbuda’s situation should not be compared to that of St Maarten, Anguilla or any of the other islands that were impacted by Irma. He explained that while those islands had capacity, including hotels and other private facilities that could have been used to help provide some of the basic services, such as to shelter, Barbuda was flattened and had no such services.

According to the minister, Barbuda was the worst hit of the chain of islands in the Caribbean, with wind gusts of up to 225miles, and thus there is a greater challenge to rebuild.

Joseph said the government is as anxious as the Barbudans for them to return home, but added that only an irresponsible and reckless government would allow them to return to an unsafe environment.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. The Minister’s statement is crystal clear.
    All the previous post who indicated let the Barbudians return I am hoping that they understand now.

  2. Stop It Barbudans! This Is 2017; Not In 1492! You Wah Fuh Guh Back Home? Ask England To Tek You Bak! Me Sik And Tired Of You All Complaining! Codrington Is Gone! We Are Now One! Antigua/Barbuda! Please Accept Us Now! I LOVE YOU ANTIGUA/BARBUDA!🌴🌴

  3. What’s so hard for them to understand that their health is at risk going back without safety measures been in place … What’s more important material things that as they saw, here one minute but gone the same minute or living a longer healthy life??? Y can’t they just wait?? We r not running them.. We are our brothers keeper… We are one voice, one people, one nation under one God

    • If that was the case the PM and his contingent would not have been in Barbuda just hours after the hurricane. Who are you people? Just shut up.

  4. Why is everything in the Antiguan Gov planning reactive? Maybe if there was a ‘worse case scenario’ plan in place for an island in the path of serious hurricanes then a lot of these aftermath issues wouldn’t be issues now. So many what if’s…

    I’m sick of people asking Barbudans to just sit tight. Barbudans need to be part of the decision-making process about the island not just by standers it is a no-brainer….

    • Blame the Gov for everything, where is the ‘worst case scenario’ plan of the barbuda council? You so badly want them to be totally in control yet the government is still responsible for your bills and contingency planning. You can’t have it both ways.
      If they had only suggested Evac before the storm I wonder how many would have been willing to leave, couldn’t even get some to leave after had to send police. Stop thinking we as humans can plan with solutions for everything. This is nature!

    • So true… this debate is becoming angering. It’s like us agreeing to slavery…. take a man off his home soil for what ever reason and tell now you ungrateful, dark age human you just stay here until I say you can go … really…. modern day slavery in practice….. Hitlerism at work…

  5. Lepto is serious and will kill an animal. Keep away til it’s safe. No water, food, power etc. How will they survive if they go back?! Put your thinking caps on people and pray for patience. Once rebuilt, that island will be even more beautiful. More beauty + more visitors = more money and better living. Just wait. God be with you all.

  6. Mr. Minister,
    This statement is crystal clear, and honest. I feel the ache and concern for all as you deliver this address. God continue to bless the government of Antigua and Barbuda. Barbudans have patience.

  7. I wonder which planet Barbudans came from. They lack understanding, they are hard headed and ungrateful. If you let them go back on their own accord and anything happen to them they will expect the government to be responsible for them. Sometimes you just have to leave people to themselves and let them learn the hard way… jeez.

    • Its funny how people can say Barbudans lack understanding, hard-headed and ungrateful when you’re not in the situation yourself. SMH the more things change the more they remain the same.
      Everyone misses the comfort of their own homes it’s like you expect them to shut up like the silent well-behaved slave. We are independent hard working people and we will not sit idly by and say nothing because some inconsiderate people have an issue with it.

  8. I wonder if this was the other way around Antiguans would be sitting tight in another island. God forbid the insensitivity of us to expect the Barbudans to sit tight and twiddle their thumbs. Further is what really happened in Barbuda a new phenomena…. please people let’s be fair and open in our reasoning…. smaller islands with a bigger population has been decimated just like Barbuda with the very same health concerns a possibility but the PEOPLE and Government worked together to rebuild and keep diseases at bay. Really rats…. well what happen to all dem big rats that own Market street and point area… what is been done to get rid of them. I sure plenty if not all of us would be more comfortable sleeping on the floor in our own comfort zone than on a bed in someone else’s… and let’s be very careful of what we put out in the universe… with England exiting the EU don’t think that it’s too farfetched for them to return to owning and controlling overseas territories to regain some measure of sovereign power…. hmmmm…… and something for us to honestly ponder which island has made any significant progress since gaining independence from our colonial masters who did nothing then to benefit us but themselves? Yet still we have so retrogressed that is laughable… until we as a people stop being color blind and hold honest discussion and look at issues open mindedly we will never ever progress…. Barbudans have a right to demand being returned to their home soil which of us wouldn’t want to and why??

  9. What measures r being implemented NOW for the speedy return home of barbudans?? What is new??? Where is the donation money ??? I want to see action, not people’s opinions!!!!!

  10. What are you going back to Barbuda to do? Will there be a roof over your head?, Supermarkets open?, Adequate water, food and electricity supply?, Functioning health facilities? The average Head of State is supposed to ensure that these issues are resolved after an emergency or natural disaster to avoid loss of lives through sickness and. unusual situations such as this. Be patient.God is in charge.

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