The American University of Antigua (AUA) has declined comment on its partnership with the so-called Arthur Nibbs Foundation which recently accepted over $150,000 worth in building materials on behalf of Barbudans. OBSERVER media sent the university’s public relations coordinator Sumita Balooja an email requesting comment on the matter of whether the institution was aware that the foundation is not registered to operate as is required by law.
She did not reply via email, but reached out via Whatsapp, saying she had no comment. In order to operate the way it has been, the foundation needs to be registered by the Intellectual Property Office. On Tuesday, that office said there was no record of such a foundation in its registry and it confirmed that such charities must be registered. And, one of the people identified as a Director of the Foundation, Darilyn Burton, confirmed on Tuesday that the organisation has been operating without being registered.
She said that an application was submitted, but the body proceeded to operate given the urgent need for rebuilding after Hurricane Irma. Barbuda Affairs Minister Arthur Nibbs accepted the donation on behalf of the Arthur Nibbs Foundation on Monday – the first time the public was hearing about the foundation. Nibbs said he did not have any details about the body and directed our newsroom to the directors.