Barbuda Council questions Defense Force’s role on sister isle

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The Barbuda Council is querying the role being played by members of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF) on the sister isle.

In fact the Council, through the incumbent Member of Parliament, is suggesting that the presence of the military personnel is holding back development on Barbuda.

Since the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017, members of the ABDF have been operating in Barbuda as a form of security.

But Trevor Walker, the Parliamentary Representative for Barbuda and Member of the Council, believes the military must be put to what he terms “proper use” and not just “take up space”.

Walker was referring specifically to the Community Centre where the soldiers currently assigned to Barbuda are billeted.

“We have an issue with the way the whole thing has unfolded and is unfolding with occupying the Community Centre,” he said. “It has barred us from utilizing that facility for the use that it was intended to.”

He added that the administrators should be blamed for the officers living in luxury.

“I have a particular issue with military persons who really should be showing some example. I don’t blame the officers per se because this is administration. Sleeping in air condition, living in luxury . . . I don’t have air condition in my house but the military people here sleep in air condition.”

Walker is adamant that the building should be turned over to the Barbuda Council and that the respective authorities should find alternative living arrangements for the officers.

“I am not saying they should necessarily live in tents. If they can find a house, no problem. But that building should be turned back over to the Barbuda Council. If I want to have my 60th birthday party down there next year, I should be able to go like it was built for to organize it and set it up properly.

“It might not be in 100 percent condition that it should be in; but look at it this way: if the school when it has graduation, for example, like last year, there is no place on this island that they can go and have a decent reception, a decent get together.”

This is not the first building that Barbudans have come up in arms against uniformed officials. Last July the dispute involved the use of the Fisheries Complex where officers of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda were lodging at the time.

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