Hurricane victims threatened with forced eviction

AFP Photo

Nearly a year after Hurricane Irma slammed into Barbuda killing a two-year-old boy and causing at least 90 per cent damage to infrastructure on the tiny island, Barbudans are being warned that if they continue to ignore reported notices to leave a shelter in Antigua, they will be forced to do so.

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.

Hurricane damage in Barbuda (File Photo)

“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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  1. I commend your continued use of the word ‘eviction’ for what happened over the weekend. Clearly one of few media entities that doesn’t need a dictionary.

  2. There is no place like home. Why not return and do your part to get back on your feet. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Bit by bit, day by day and before you know it, things will be up and running. Don’t get comfortable and complacent. This is an OPPORTUNITY to return home and get back on track. Good luck. Time to leave the nest and FLY.

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