A committee convened to assess the requirements of making Barbuda a port of entry has determined that an Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force Coast Guard (ABDF CG) base and additional ABDF personnel are required on the sister isle.
The information comes from Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall, who presented a report on recent Cabinet decisions during Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference.
“Mr Raju Boddu, who is the chairman of the committee, reported that there would be a need for more Immigration and Customs officers, and also members of the defence force. Colonel Thomas indicated that there would be a need for more employment within the force,” she said.
Chief of Defence Staff Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas told OBSERVER media, “Moving to Barbuda is not a recent initiative. It is something we have been addressing for some time as far back as 1992. We need to have Coast Guard assets over there, port of entry or not.
The Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst said that at least 30 additional personnel were necessary.
According to Marshall, the absence of a port of entry on Barbuda has contributed to the high cost of living there as “goods are landed here in Antigua and they have to be transported to Barbuda”. She also said that the “legislation has already been passed to ensure that Barbuda can be declared a port of entry”.
Member of Parliament for Barbuda and Minister of Barbuda Affairs, Arthur Nibbs said with the creation of a port of entry on the island he saw “small businesses springing up because now people could go wherever and return directly to Barbuda”.
“You’re eliminating the extra handling and travel charges, so at the end of the day the cost of living will come down for Barbuda,” he said.