Barbuda Councilman arrested amid PLH controversy

Once pristine Palmetto Point has long been a jewel in Barbuda’s crown. But critics of the Peace, Love and Happiness development say the multi-million dollar project threatens its fragile and valuable ecosystem. Tempers flared again on Wednesday. (Photo taken by Observer media in February 2020)
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By Orville Williams

Police have confirmed that Barbuda Council Secretary Paul Nedd was arrested yesterday amid ongoing controversy between the island’s authorities and the Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH) development.

According to multiple reports early yesterday morning, disgruntlement arose within the Council ranks on word that one of its members had been arrested.

Council member Devon Warner spoke to Observer in the throes of the fallout.

“I was called by the secretary of the Council and informed that one of our agents was arrested. I then hustled and made my way down [and] I met them on the River Road coming from the [Palmetto Point] site.

“We turned back and went to the police station where they detained the gentleman and were in the process as well of arresting the secretary of the Council … after some intervention … they released him,” Warner explained.

The councilman continued, “since then, we’ve made our way back to Palmetto Point and are now confronting the people from PLH down here.”

Arrest documents obtained by Observer revealed details of the offences Nedd had been charged with, including two for obstruction and one for disorderly conduct.

Nedd apparently obstructed a police officer by blocking passage on a public road using a motor vehicle. The latter charge related to his conduct in the same incident.

According to Warner, on their return to the Palmetto Point site, the group was engaged by security personnel who were audibly clashing with demonstrating Barbudans. Warner repeatedly voiced his concerns that the situation would escalate and bemoaned the project for the negative impact it was having on internal Barbudan relations.

The luxury development has come under fire from residents concerned about its environmental impact on the area, which includes a RAMSAR-designated wetland meaning it is deemed to be of international importance.

Warner also voiced stern discontent with Prime Minister Gaston Browne who had indicated in Parliament last week that he was willing to meet with Council members and PLH personnel in resolving the longstanding issues.

“This is the kind of Prime Minister we have, who, in his little childish rantings in Parliament, saying he’s going to sit down and talk to the people of Barbuda. Where is the official invite? No official invite, it’s just a little boy ranting and raving in Parliament while the people of Barbuda are losing part of their natural assets for nothing. That is what is happening,” Warner raged.

Nedd did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A PLH spokesman told Observer the incident did not occur on its property and declined to comment further.

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