Barbudans warned to cease intimidation in interest of Fisheries Complex

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Barbudans are being cautioned, that there will be no lobster export from that island, unless they desist from “intimidating” and obstructing people who are tasked with getting the Fisheries Complex up to European Union (EU) standards.
For almost a week now Barbudans have been at loggerheads with police officers occupying the Fisheries Complex, who they say are hampering their efforts to get the complex up and running for the open lobster season which commenced on July 1.
The exportation of lobsters, primarily to EU territories, generates approximately $8 million to the economy.
Excerpts from a report, entitled, “General Condition of the Barbuda Fisheries Complex Six months post-Hurricane Irma Export Readiness”, dated April 30, 2018, state that: 1. The complex was descending into a serious state of disrepair which may ultimately affect its status as an EU approved facility for export; 2. The entire facility required substantial cleaning and disinfecting; 3. There was an inadequate supply of potable water to the facilitate, the storage of water was unsecure and insanitary; 4. The lack of functioning local fisheries management authority on island currently precluded the implementation of traceability and product recall procedures essential for exports to the EU, USA and Canada.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs minister, Dean Jonas stated that, the facility needed to be brought up to international standards to facilitate export, and if Barbudans were truly concerned about the complex and their source of revenue they would allow the relevant authorities to execute their duties, since there was “no one” in Barbuda “qualified, competent or authorised” to do so.
“It is just a small group of Barbudans being led by Trevor Walker who are causing the delay. If they are really so concerned about their livelihood, they need to allow the chief fisheries officer to do her work. If she is not, then, it will remain in this limbo for as long as they want it to continue, and no export will happen from Barbuda if this impasse continues. They need to stop this intimidation and let her do her work,” Jonas said.
He said that the only people authorised to certify the facility are the Chief Fisheries Officer; Cheryl Appleton, Acting Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer; Ian Horsford and Chief Veterinary Officer; Dr. Tubal Edwards.
Meanwhile, Horsford said that, there are also other challenges that needed to be addressed on the way to getting the complex into a state of readiness.
“There are a lot of issues, in respect of staffing. The individuals that do inspection for export have to be competent and you cannot have the facility being operated by somebody from the council who is not reporting to the chief fisheries officer.”
There was no time frame given for how long it would take authorities to get the complex up to EU standards. 
On Wednesday, when personnel from the fisheries department went over to Barbuda to conduct inspections on the complex they were met with resistance by Barbudans who surrounded the complex, chanting, “we shall overcome”.
On Wednesday, Jonas also accused the Leader of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM), and Member of
Parliament, Walker, of politicising the situation between the people of Barbuda and the police officers, who have been occupying the Fisheries Complex since the passage of Hurricane Irma last September.
There had been contention between the residents and police since Sunday.
The police are still occupying the complex, and according to Chairman of the Barbuda Council, Wade Burton, it is expected that the officers will move to a new location by weekend.
Earlier, it was said the officers would have left two days ago.

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