Nibbs challenges negative Barbuda news reports

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MP for Barbuda Arthur Nibbs

Parliamentary representative for Barbuda and Minister for Agriculture, Land, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Arthur Nibbs, has responded passionately to a news broadcast carried by UK Channel 4 of the situation in Barbuda post hurricane Irma.

The report painted a grim picture of how Barbudans were being treated, as people from Barbuda described themselves as refugees held against their will.

Those interviewed also told the international news agency that the Antigua and Barbuda government wants them out of the island so that they could sell Barbuda land to investors.

But Nibbs, said it was never the government’s intention to keep Barbudans in Antigua any longer than it was necessary.

“It was never the intention of the government because it is very expensive. It’s costing the government upwards of $40,000 a day to keep all the shelters and the people all around the island. So what joy is in that for the government,” he questioned.

According to the minister, the government was only trying to ensure that proper basic facilities, like a medical centre and water and electricity were restored before sending residents back to the island.

But Nibbs said now that the mandatory evacuation is over and the emergency ban has been lifted, Barbudans, who less than a week after being evacuated wanted to go back home, are in villas and hotels “enjoying themselves” and are refusing to go back to rebuild.
“We cannot even get a number of people ready to go back and clean up so that we can advance to the second phase of the rebuilding process…the streets are clean, the public sector areas like the hospital and schools are clean but the people’s home and their yards are in a terrible state,” he told state media.

Nibbs said, it’s extra burdensome on him as a Barbudan going to Cabinet meetings, week after week, and knowing that Barbudans are refusing to clean up.
The number of people travelling daily to Barbuda seemed so insignificant that about two weeks ago the government announced that it was considering hiring Antiguans to clean up the island.

As for keeping the islanders out, to move investors in, Nibbs said those who make this claim are doing it as a “political ploy”.

According to Nibbs, the government doesn’t want to give the people’s lands away, instead the Prime Minister; Gaston Browne was giving Barbudans an option, when he said that they could pay $1 to own free hold titles for their plots of land.

“There will be nobody forced to change the system of land in Barbuda, people have a chance to decide. That is not giving your land away, that is giving you as an individual personal title to the lands that you traditionally occupy,” the minister explained.

Nibbs, however, disagreed with the prime minister, who in the weeks following hurricane Irma, said Barbudans were squatting and so needed to have their lots registered.

“With respect to making a statement calling Barbudans squatters, I do not support that view because they are not squatters. We’ve been on the land for all our years. Yes, we do not have ownership to the land but we are not squatters because we have rights to occupy,” Nibbs said.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. it is not the government job to build back houses for barbudans. ..but i can’t believe how ungrateful these people are ….gaston should have left them in barbuda. ..but the again what would people say. ….baebudans are so hard to please them just like women. …..y would these people do this not good…..

  2. As the representative it is NOW he is speaking. .. Nibbs ha been MIA and for his sake he should remain so.. he has abscond his leadership …

  3. dubbery please face reality, would you be happy knowing dawn well you have meat and other things in you fridge and you can not go and take them out before they rot or your property is left open, yes the government is part responsible to help them get back on there feet. why some people can be so inconsiderate.

    • So ur saying then it’s the government’s fault that a hurricane passed n destroyed Barbuda. Ur right thr government should have left Barbudans destitute with an oncoming hurricane so they can clean out their fridges in their roofless homes, if they had a home left.

  4. local read what i right—how long did this storm pass. on the 9 of September they could have gone back and look after them stuff . then return to Antigua. would you have like that to happen to you.

    • Those things were already spoilt by the time they left. There was no electricity before the storm. Persons in Antigua, where electricity was returned early had lost stuff in their fridge even before the 2nd storm was a approaching muchless. There once they were evacuated, it stems to reason that everything left in fridges n freezers would have spoilt even if they were on the island.
      Yes it’s a sad thing that happened to Barbudans but how about instead of sitting on ur buttocks n complaining of misfortune be glad for what u have.
      When Hurricane Louis hit Antigua were spent weeks, months even, without electricity. Did we sit and blame the government? No. We had to pick up ourselves and did what we had to do. Nobody in Antigua got the kind of aid being granted Barbuda yet all I do is sit n complain about what u don’t have.

    • The situation has already become what it is. Why not go now and see what you can do to help yourselves? Is sitting down in Antigua doing nothing making yiur situation at home any better? I would think not. But don’t mind me….it’s all the government’s fault.

  5. these barbudan too ungrateful..
    Barbuda described themselves as refugees held against their will.
    please give me a break.. they sais they can go back to clean up they room
    but yet still sit in in antigua ..because life too sweet

    i guest yourll expecting the government to do it for yourll
    spending $40,000 a day to feed yourl come on

    yet still yourll get paid by the council

    to damm ungrateful

    go back home

    gaston should sell yourll land

  6. Is this tbe same Arthur Nibbs Heard say that if up to him he’d put Barbudans in an internment camp so he can get on with the developments he wants, and he’s against getting approval from the people on any development to do with land? He might as well call his neighbors “squatters” because squatting better than internment

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