We still await the judges decision about whether Barbudans who returned to live on Barbuda now have to go back to Antigua to vote in the snap general election. Are we no longer a recognised consituency? How will they get almost 450 of us to Antigua on the day when the ferry depends on the weather and SVG cancel flights on a whim? Who will assist the people who are older or who have children to look after? Is this a day trip or are we staying the night. Those of us who have returned to live in Barbuda will certainly travel to vote but it's looking like a rather desperate and misguided attempt to effect the election result they need - to remove Barbudans permanently from their communal land.
All homes who requested reconnection to electricity were visited by an APUA inspector last week. He advised home owners that the new system in Barbuda will be to install both 220 and 110 current facilities in every home, eliminating the need for transformers.The problem with this is that every house visited failed the inspection, and will need to be adapted to suit the safer guidelines. Wait Foundation have agreed to provide the necessay materials. As APUA have not re-connected many of the posts in the village in most areas since the Cubans and Venezuelans left, we are not expecting electricity any time soon!
The difficulty faced by Barbudans trying to get back to Barbuda cannot be under-estimated. There is NO FOOD AID in Barbuda yet, people have nowhere to live, no money, it's traumatic going back to see all your possessions gone and some have children at school or new jobs in Antigua. Fred is doing an amazing job on the ferry - she is the only reliable daily transport and most days there are too many people to fit on. Some want to go to take photographs for their fund-raising, yes really, as if there aren't enough online, some are amazing helpful volunteers, some are from the UN who are now asking for people to estimate the cost of re-building their homes; the army, scientists - but Fred is putting Barbudans first.
The clean-up is going well, there has been a lot of work done by Solid Waste to clear debris and the GoFundMe/helpBarbuda fund is supporting people to go to their homes to help clean up and aid their return. Samaritans Purse have tarped all the open roofs they can. Generators have been handed out to those who have returned.
But the government appears to have prioritised an international airport over re-building homes so we are faced again with legal action to get the answers we need from them about their intentions for the short and long term future of Barbuda - luckily we have lawyers amongst the volunteers. Most other updates are compiled from all the best sources on the net on facebook barbudaful, and on other ngo or charitable sites, most of whom are trying their best to help on a practical local level, with a few crazy ambulance-chasers that are inevitable in a disaster of this scale thrown in to make it more interesting.
Why would you buy back land that you already own? This is the offer on the table from Gaston Browne - $1 for a title deed to land that is worth $$$ millions and has been fought for since slavery. Of course if you are from Antigua, Jamaica, Dominica, Guyana, the USA, UK or any of our other friends and neighbours maybe already living on Barbuda you can see the appeal - wait long enough and you will get what you waited for - free or cheap land. If you vote for some people of course they will promise you huge wealth and prosperity - that 'personal gift' of cash you get at election time; the new jeep, the alcohol: it's there to make sure you bring it home for them and is part of the deal.
Don't build a strong hurricane-proof house; have a much bigger Caribana! But now we know - if you want your home rebuilt after a devastating hurricane, you're gonna have to pay it all back.
Hooray, hooray FINALLY we are allowed to go back. A formal petition has already been put to government regarding the requirements of Barbudans to return as follows -
FROM THE PEOPLE OF BARBUDA LIVING IN ANTIGUA UNDER THE EVACUATION ORDER
WHEREAS by virtue of a State of Emergency proclaimed by the Governor General of Antigua & Barbuda and an Evacuation Order made by the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda the entire population of the island of Barbuda was evacuated to Antigua between September 7th and 8th, 2017 AND WHEREAS we Barbudans are thankful to the Government for its prompt response and to the people of Antigua for the outpouring of love and support and their generosity in providing accommodation, food, clothing and transportation to mitigate our circumstances AND WHEREAS many Barbudans are anxious to return home to Barbuda to participate in the reconstruction efforts and to restore normalcy in the shortest possible time.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED BARBUDANS evacuated from Barbuda and currently living in Antigua hereby make the following demands:
1. All Barbudans who are prepared to assist with the clean-up effort must be allowed to return to Barbuda and remain in Barbuda for this purpose;
a) In this regard adequate provision must be made for food, medical and material supplies to be sent from Antigua to Barbuda to serve their needs;
b) Barbudans should be allowed to stay in their own homes provided that these homes are safe for habitation, or to stay in designated shelters;
c) Volunteers should be divided into working groups including but not limited to
▪ Fogging crew
▪ Equipment operators
2.A dedicated clinic should be designated in Antigua to serve Barbudans and all medical relief items and funds intended for the benefit of Barbudans should be made available to that clinic to serve the medical needs of Barbudans.
3.An independent committee should be established which would include Barbudans to manage the receipt of material supplies and relief items.
4.A Barbuda Foundation should be created to manage all financial donations from individuals and local, regional and international bodies.
5.Adequate transportation arrangements should be made to allow Barbudans to travel to and from Barbuda on a regular schedule. This should include transportation between the port and the town.
6. All materials and supplies intended for use in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Barbuda, including all generators and communication equipment should be sent to Barbuda immediately.
DATED THE 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
Update - there will be families who are unable to do this if their children remain in school in Antigua and so provision must be made for them to remain in Antigua until a satisfactory solution for education is reached on Barbuda.
Many people have asked where to send donations to organisations that are based in Barbuda, or to Barbudans raising funds for Barbuda or for Barbudans themselves. We started our own fund immediately which was initially intended to raise enough for satellite phones, to avoid the long communication delay after the hurricane hit, and the worrying and inaccurate news we experienced. In fact the fund has achieved much more than this and we are now using it for a supported clean-up to enable people to return home, and also filled two donated containers full of tools and supplies.
UPDATE - There is still currently little or no income in Barbuda. Many people have lost their boats, their taxi's and their guest houses. If you wish to donate to this website or to help anyone you know please contact us and we will pass on all individual donations.
THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU xxxxx
The unprecedented hurricane Irma has destroyed our beautiful island community. This information here on barbudaful is no longer relevant as all guest houses, bars, shops, homes and businesses have been torn apart by a hurricane so enormous that the world has never witnessed anything like it before. It has almost destroyed an entire area of the world - the Caribbean, so we are not alone in this. All our recent updates have and will be on facebook and we can only try to recover from the trauma of it slowly, and then rebuild.
We are so comforted by the immediate support we have received from Antiguans and Barbudans who risked dangerous conditions to evacuate everyone from Barbuda, before we face the next one - Jose. There is nothing left to destroy but we have left unsecured homes, pets and our remaining possessions to find temporary shelter in Antigua. The support we have received from our Barbuda friends and family around the world has been bigger than any hurricane. People who have visited Barbuda once, long term guests to our hotels, individuals, organisations and many many others have demonstrated their love and respect for us by donating to the various funds to assist us in our immediate crisis and in our long term rebuild. We want to say thankyou to all of you; thankyou soooo much, and we will be back.