Barbudans will not pay to travel during state of emergency

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Molwyn Joseph, minister of health and environment has reiterated that residents and workers travelling to and from Barbuda, should not have to pay transport fees as long as the State of Emergency remains in effect for the island.
Minister Joseph made the proclamation at a specially convened meeting with members of the Barbuda Council and the Hurricane Response National Coordinating Committee on Monday.
 His comments came following reports that persons were charged to travel to Barbuda last weekend. Major Alando Michael, operations officer for the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), told OBSERVER media, that it was as a result of persons travelling outside the scheduled trips organised by NODS.
“If they want [to] travel outside the scheduled trips and they are asked to pay, that is their choice,” said Major Michael.
In the meantime, Minister Joseph announced that phase two of the clean-up operations on Barbuda is scheduled to begin shortly. In this phase homeowners will be allowed to clean out their homes, remove debris from their yards and repair minimally damaged homes.
It is estimated that due to Hurricane Irma’s devastation on the island, about 76 percent of the structures identified are currently uninhabitable.
As a result, Major Michael is proposing that phase two be conducted in stages to prevent any setbacks.
“We want the environment to be safe and secure for all.  It is very easy for a disaster to follow a disaster. So, we would want residents go over from one area then the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), clean-up that area before moving on to other areas,” he said.
Five of nine elected members of the Council, representing both the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party and the Barbuda Peoples Movement, along with Arthur Nibbs Barbuda’s parliamentary representative, were present at the meeting.
The Hurricane Response National Coordinating Committee is chaired by Minister Joseph and is the coordinating agency for the cleaning up of Barbuda and the repair and rebuilding effort.

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