The government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst has said Barbuda would not be able to function properly independent of Antigua in response to a threat of “separation discussions” by the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM).
BPM Political Leader Trevor Walker made the charge following Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s threat to repeal the Barbuda Land Act of 2007.
Hurst has since argued that the population of Barbuda, approximately 1,600, is not sufficient to enable the island to operate on its own.
“You really don’t have enough people to even run a civil service. The Barbudans recognise it. It’s just the leaders who are talking foolishness,” he said.
The chief of staff also contended that one of the objectives of further physical development in Barbuda is “so that Barbudans who live abroad can, in fact, build homes in Barbuda and return there.”
While the government does not view the notion with much promise, several residents of Barbuda are more keen on the idea of secession from the twin island union.
Freeston Thomas, owner of the Pink Sand Cottages, told OBSERVER media, “I would go for that,” explaining that without the Barbuda Land Act, he believes land rights would again be disputed. “You don’t ‘unfree’ people… I believe a reverse of it will be more detrimental to the people.
“The prime minister seems to be a person that is very progressive and wants to get things done. But, he is not the only person with ideas. If you’re going to take away the peoples’ rights and views and do it yourself – you should try and get the views of the people first,” Thomas argued.
(More in the Daily Observer)