Can Barbudans be forced to evacuate?

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As Hurricane Jose approaches the Leeward Islands, with Antigua and particularly Barbuda in its path, temporary evacuation has begun on the sister isle.
The country’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, in an interview with OBSERVER media Thursday said, “Those who are in a position to leave Barbuda temporarily, should do so.”
Considering the fact that Barbuda is now in a ‘State of Emergency,’ following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, OBSERVER media asked Minister for Public Safety, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, what would make mandatory evacuation necessary.
The minister pointed us to Chapter 148 of the laws of Antigua & Barbuda.
That law – ‘The Emergency Powers (Hurricane, Fire or Flood) Act’ – states “It shall be lawful for the Cabinet, after the occurrence in Antigua and Barbuda of any hurricane, earthquake, fire or flood, to declare by proclamation in the Gazette, that a state of emergency exists…”
“…No such proclamation shall be in force for more than one month, without prejudice to the issue of another proclamation, at or before the end of that period.”
Simply put, the law only speaks to the aftermath of a disaster and states that people cannot be forced to leave their homes before a disaster occurs.
“There is nothing in the law that compels and mandates the government or the people to leave, except if they want to do so voluntarily,” the Public Safety minister reiterated.
Paraphrasing the Act, Minister Benjamin said “Once a state of emergency has been declared and published in the Gazette, then the Cabinet can make any order it deems appropriate, to secure the essentials of life to the community and for the preservation of the health, welfare and safety of the public.”
He said that that includes, among other things, the requisitioning of all forms of transportation.
Benjamin made it clear however, that the government “has not contemplated that action at this point in time.”

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