Barbudans clash with staff at stadium

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The issue of Barbudans living at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds (SVRCG) reached its boiling point yesterday, after an altercation between an evacuee and an employee of the stadium.
Stadium Manager, Conliffe Phillip, told OBSERVER media in an interview, that when a female employee refused to answer questions by the Barbudans about when the laundry room would be opened, there was a confrontation.
“They held up the elevator when the staff was trying to come back upstairs. I had to go and get her. My staff feels threatened. I told them to go home and come back and if the Barbudans are still here then they will have to go home again. I’m not going to have my staff working in these conditions,” Phillip said.
He said that 60-plus employees     including groundsmen, events coordinator and administration staff were amongst those dismissed early.
Phillip said that Barbudans sheltering at SVRCG were given until December 31, 2017, to leave the stadium.
He added that this would have been a reprieve for them, since the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) had asked them to evacuate by December 19, 2017.
“I issued them a letter reminding them that the Barbuda Council and NODS asked that they leave by December 19, but, I’m giv- ing them until December 31st, and since then a lot of malicious things have been going on. Some saying they not leaving until they find a place for them to go. I have never said anything to them since I issued the letter,” Phillip said.
At highest occupancy, there were over 190 Barbudans sheltering at the stadium. Yesterday, Phillip said there are just over 40 remaining, including a very large family.
Phillip said he understands the plight of the Barbudans, but the West Indies Cricket Board is supposed to inspect the facility in one week, to be followed by an International Cricket Council (ICC) inspection ahead of the West Indies Super 50 this month, with other games scheduled for next month. He added that Bangladesh is to participate in Test matches in June.
He said that the Barbudans are occupying the players’ changing rooms, physiotherapy room, coach’s locker rooms and the anti-doping rooms.
“I don’t expect them to go under a tree, but it is in the place of the Barbuda Council and NODS to tell them where they are going and take them there,” Phillip said.
Meanwhile,  the Barbudan woman who admitted she had a confrontation with the female staff said that those staying at the stadium because of the devastation of Hurricane Irma are being treated unfairly.
Mikieka Simon said that the staff went to the basement and refused to answer questions about when the washroom  would be opened so that clothes that had been piling up for over two weeks would be washed.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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