Former member of parliament for Barbuda and the founder of the Arthur Nibbs Foundation has disclosed that his foundation will commence the distribution of building materials to hurricane affected Barbudans in short order.
“We just had carnival so within a week or two we will make a public announcement as to when we will commence the distribution. We have been over in Barbuda on two occasions and what we have done is that we have asked people who have suffered damage to submit estimates to us and then we will have contractors to verify. Then, within a week or two we should be distributing the material to help the people,” Arthur Nibbs informed OBSERVER media recently.
He also refuted allegations that his foundation has not been active since receiving materials on behalf of the people of Barbuda and explained that one of the main reasons for the long hold up was the registration process.
Claiming that the registration process took an inordinately long time, Nibbs said the foundation is fully registered now and is working in collaboration with the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS). He questioned the logic of individuals who thought the materials would have been distributed without proper protocol being followed.
Nibbs said that people at NODS would have been “crazy” to distribute the materials without the proper provision even though they have taken on the responsibility of storing the materials on the sister isle.
He also reminded his critics of the firestorm of criticism he received from the public back in January when OBSERVER media first broke the news of the foundation not being registered but was collecting donations. The former MP said that he will be taking his time to make sure that everything is done properly.
He stressed that the foundation took its time throughout the entire process because it wanted to ensure that the houses of Barbudans, who live in the Diaspora – Canada, England and the United States – were not repaired ahead of the houses of Barbudans who reside locally and are in desperate need of the materials.
The materials were donated to the Arthur Nibbs Foundation by Vice President of Administration and Community Affairs of AUA, Vernon Solomon. Nibbs was the minister responsible for Barbuda affairs at the time of the handing over ceremony. The public backlash ensued after OBSERVER media reported that it had checked with the intellectual property office and no such foundation was registered there.
This led to opposition parties calling for an investigation into the foundation and its actions. United Progressive Party (UPP) leader, Harold Lovell, was on record as saying that his organisation was calling for an investigation because the whole thing smelt of fraud, and that it gave rise to suspicion, which would only damage the Barbuda relief efforts.