A national parliamentarian and local government official is suggesting that the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) has overstayed it’s welcome on Barbuda in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma 16 months ago.
Trevor Walker is claiming that NODS failed to meet a December 2018 deadline stipulated by the Barbuda Council to relinquish some of its responsibilities on the sister island.
NODS is the management agency mandated by the government of Antigua and Barbuda to deal with emergency/disaster situations. As per the government’s request, the disaster agency took charge of the disaster relief efforts on Barbuda following the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The agency has since continued to oversee the rehabilitation process, but the Member of Parliament (MP) for Barbuda, Trevor Walker, is adamant that the time has come for the Barbuda Council to take the reins.
According to Walker the council is legally responsible for health, infrastructure, and donor funding, and should be allowed to handle these matters on Barbuda. “All we are saying is . . . let us be the driving force on these kinds of things. For example, one of the things that upset us is the fact that we have received so much donations from overseas, so many things, generators, things for the hospital, cash.
ECTEL, the telecoms company, gave US $50,000 to the government of Antigua and Barbuda, and nobody can say what has happened to this money,” Walker stated. He added that if there is a local government body responsible for Barbuda, it should be allowed to take the lead. “I don’t think we are being unreasonable.
All we are saying let it come to the Barbuda Council. By law we have to give an account for every single penny that we have received, and I know we will do that, and we have the capacity to do that,” Walker said. OBSERVER Media reached out to NODS Director Philmore Mullin who said he knew nothing about a deadline to leave the sister isle.