Nearly a year after Hurricane Irma slammed into Barbuda killing a
Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the National Technical Training Centre, (NTTC) is a training facility and Barbudans will not be allowed to stay there permanently.
“The Barbudans must understand that the NTTC is a training facility and that we cannot prejudice the development of the youth of this country for the benefit of a few Barbudans.
“We are sensitive to their needs, in fact, the government has a programme in place to build additional units over in Barbuda to accommodate those who have been displaced,” Browne said.
Over the last weekend, police and government officials descended on the building, evicting Barbudans who had refused to heed the calls to move.
The Barbudans, mostly women and young children, have been living at the shelter since the passage of Hurricane Irma which battered the tiny island with winds of 185 miles per hour (mph) forcing the evacuation of all 1,800 to Antigua, Barbuda’s much larger sister island, which suffered only minor damage.
But several families have remained at the facility indicating they have nowhere to go.
Prime Minister Browne says while his administration is willing to provide some sort of support to the Barbudans whether in the form of reduced rental agreements or otherwise, they cannot remain at the NTTC building.
He said the government is also fully aware that there is a shelter in Barbuda that is not being utilised by the Barbudans.
“It is not a case that they cannot go back to Barbuda and be accommodated in shelters – the provisions are in place. Their children could also be accommodated in the schools on the island. Some of them have a preference to stay here in Antigua which we have no problem with, but they cannot continue to live in Antigua at the expense of the government,” Browne said.
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