By Latrishka Thomas
Government has come under fire for an alleged lack of consideration to Barbuda in preparation for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sister isle’s MP, Trevor Walker, told Observer that whatever measures had been put in place to protect the sister island had been done solely by the Barbuda Council, even after the Prime Minister insisted that Barbuda would be included in the entire scope of plans.
“The Prime Minister said in the Parliament that everything that is done in Antigua is extended to Barbuda and that he personally spoke to the Minister of Health to include Barbuda,” Walker said.
“And I want to ask you, have you heard anything about Barbuda whenever a press conference was given by the Prime Minister or Minister of Health? Has anything ever been said about Barbuda in those press conferences, because perhaps I’m missing something.”
He claimed that, with the exception of Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney, no other official had reached out to assist.
“The Minister of Health has not even visited Barbuda. No top official in the Ministry of Health has visited Barbuda,” Walker alleged.
Hence, he said that the action taken by the Council to close the island’s borders was a very important decision, made based on recommendations from a doctor to “keep ourselves safe”.
“We have no choice and we have a very small knit community. We don’t have the luxury of having even a ventilator on this island. We don’t have the luxury of having certain facilities on this island to deal with certain things,” the MP explained.
He added that the Hanna Thomas Hospital is not 100 percent complete but is functional enough “to ensure that we provide the minimum services that’s necessary to keep everybody healthy”.
Meanwhile, Walker said that the people of Barbuda have been adhering to the regulations.
“We don’t have that type of calamity, if I can call it that, on Barbuda; we don’t have a huge problem with food in terms of persons doing that,” he said in reference to panic buying happening in Antigua.
Walker commended his fellow islanders “for staying disciplined [and] staying off the street”.
He also shared that obtaining food is not a challenge since a cargo ship arrives weekly and seafood and wild meat are in abundance in Barbuda.
Furthermore, he explained that Barbuda differs from Antigua in that things such as the list of essential workers had to be uniquely tailored to the sister island.
He said the latter had been organised with the help of police to keep as many persons “off the street as possible” to ensure an “effective shut down”.
The Minister of Health did not respond to requests for comment up to press time.