Barbuda Affairs Minister receives ‘push back’ from the Barbuda Council

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The Fisheries Department and the Barbuda Council are still at loggerheads over the use of the Fisheries Complex on the sister island.
During a recent interview, Barbuda Affairs Minister Dean Jonas said the matter is not yet solved as the Barbuda Council has outrightly refused to cooperate with the Fisheries Department, which he said, was attempting to re-certify the building at the time of the impasse in July.
“The Council refuses to work with the department and for that reason, the complex has not been certified, as a result of this, it has affected exports of lobster and other items. The Council still uses the building for offices, they occupy it,” the minister said.
The stalemate started in July of this year, when Police officers, acting on behalf of the government, reportedly tried to seize the keys to the Japanese-built facility from members of the Barbuda Council. In protest, residents on the island formed a human barricade, barring the police from gaining entry.
It is alleged that members of the council had turned off the electricity and water supply to the building, which law enforcement officers had been occupying following the hurricane on the island in September 2017, in order to force the officers to leave. It was also  in response to additional police officers being sent from Antigua to Barbuda to take control of the building.
Meanwhile, the Barbudan Affairs minister said this is just one of the problems affecting his current relationship with the local government arm in Barbuda. He also spoke of a possible legal action from the Council in response government’s intention to launch a Chinese-funded agricultural project on the island.
“I learnt from the Attorney General the other day that the Council is planning to take me to court to stop me from doing any farming in Barbuda. I really do not know what is going on, but I will have to get the details on that.
“The resources are there in Barbuda to greatly enhance production in the field of agriculture, the Council is not doing anything and any attempt to make things happen in Barbuda there is always some matter in the court that seems to block the government from doing what it wants to,” Jonas said.
Minister Jonas said that while he has maintained a personal relationship with members of the council, he does not support the stance they have taken on certain matters.

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