As Hurricane Irma heads for Barbuda and Antigua we are expecting a large storm - some even say a 'Super Storm' - that is now at the top end of category 5, with sustained winds of 200 mph and high sea surges. While we are not strangers to hurricanes in Barbuda, Irma is nevertheless a particularly dangerous and life-threatening situation. We are praying for a safe passage through the hurricane season for all people of the Caribbean, and we are sending our thoughts and best wishes to all on Barbuda during this time.
For all news and updates on Barbuda Caribana 2017 - including how to get to Barbuda - go to their facebook page.
The four new candidates for BPM have refused to participate in the setting up of the new Council after all available positions were allocated to two new ALP members in the first meeting, in spite of four BPM members having been elected by the people of Barbuda. The notion of power-sharing here is clearly not on the ABLP agenda. This disappointing and embarassing stalemate has forced MP Arthur Nibbs to look at other ways to continue his stubborn dictatorship of Barbuda. Meanwhile BPM Councillors continue to work on the issues that they were elected to pursue, outside of the imposed Council restrictions until such time as proper participative democracy is returned to our island.
The result of Mondays election proved good for BPM - winning four seats in an election process compromised by the open handing out of cash in the streets by ALP to buy votes, and further by persistent and successful attempts by ALP representatives - ignored by the police on duty - to enter the polling station (Holy Trinity School) throughout the process, intimidating voters and candidates in spite of all in our community being advised by Lorna Simon that this was strictly prohibited.
The long and unecessarily drawn out process of counting the 800+ votes went on until dawn - with the counting of the by-election only starting at 3am.
The results as reported by the Electoral Commission were -
Kendra Beazer (Barbuda People's Movement) 536 votes
Nadia John (Barbuda People's Movement) 508 votes
Knacyntar Nedd (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 499 votes
Mackiesha Desuza (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 495 votes
Wade Burton (Barbuda People's Movement) 491 votes
Asha Frank (Barbuda People's Movement) 498 votes
The results for the other candidates were as follows:
Jacklyn Frank (Barbuda People's Movement) 475 votes
Fabian Jones (Barbuda People's Movement) 475 votes
Neil Gore (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 452 votes
Calvin Gore (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 447 votes
Andrae Lee (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 474 votes
David Shaw (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party) 424 votes
On Monday 27th March six Council seats will be contested in fiercely-fought Council elections. Five were already planned and Bernie Newton's unsurprising move last month from ALP to BPM has resulted in an additional sixth seat - to be contested in a by-election on the same day.
The BPM’s candidates are Asha Frank (by-election), Kendra Beazer, Jackie Frank, Nadia John George, Fabian Jones and Wayde Burton. The ALP’s candidates are Andre Lee (by-election) Makeisha Desouza, Senator Knacynta Nedd, Neil (Jallah) Gore, David Shaw and Calvin Gore.
Of the six elected seats coming up for retirement, four of them are ALP and two BPM. Last minute roadworks are underway, promises of solar energy, the port of entry, Barbuda Airways (again) thirty cottages, an internationl airport...and another big concert. NO expense (cash) has been spared by the ALP Government to hold onto this Council. The BPM will be having a social.
Support for BPM is strong and growing; the neglect of our infrastructure and the condition of the roads for the last four years is enough. Crusader Radio are apparently streaming live from Barbuda on facebook this weekend and both UPP and ALP officials will be making celebrity appearances.
43-year-old British businessman, Peter Virdee, who was given 1,000-acres of land on Barbuda has been held under a European Arrest Warrant on behalf of German authorities and detained at London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday, in connection with a £100 million VAT scam. Virdee, who is fighting extradition, is expected to face several charges.
The annual 5k race held last Saturday was in honour of Maddie Zolpho, whose family attended the event. Several runners came from Antigua to take part. Mr Cuffy hoped more would attend in future and use this as an opportunity to visit Barbuda and enjoy our hospitality.