By Theresa Goodwin
Barbuda’s MP has declared that “under no circumstances” will the sister isle’s government sit by and allow Prime Minister Gaston Browne to strip responsibilities from the Barbuda Council.
Trevor Walker said the Council will use the legal system to prevent the PM from following through with plans to amend the Barbuda Local Government Act to remove the Council’s authority to mine sand and sublease land in Barbuda.
Browne stated over the weekend that such responsibility will be shifted to central government after he accused the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM)-led Council of circumventing the wishes of the government.
But Walker said, “The Parliament has no authority to amend the Local Government Act Cap 44 unless a resolution is sent to the clerk [of Parliament] by the Council, and the Barbuda Council will not send a resolution to the clerk.
“Any attempt by the Parliament to do this can be deemed unconstitutional and we are going to immediately take this to court to get that declaration.”
“Section 123 of the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda is clear that the Local Government Act for Barbuda cannot be changed unless there is a resolution. If this is how the Prime Minister is going to treat Barbuda then he has to put on the table the future relationship of Antigua and Barbuda.”
The Barbudan MP is also convinced that the latest move by Browne is in response to a recommendation made by the Barbuda Council for the Development Control Authority (DCA) to halt the Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH) project due to environmental concerns.
The Council is adamant that the multi-million dollar project should not be allowed to continue until all environmental concerns have been addressed.
However, the Cabinet has since issued a directive stating that all matters concerning any project must first come before it before any official makes his/her findings public.