Government threatens to tighten purse strings on ‘idle’ Barbudans

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The Antigua and Barbuda government will have to decide how long it will be able to provide free accommodation for Barbudans, some of whom are not working but are still being paid by the Barbuda Council, Information Minister Melford Nicholas told Parliament on Tuesday.
His assertion came during the debate on the repeal of the Barbuda Land Act 2007 which seeks to give land ownership to not just Barbudans, but Antiguans as well.
“We are going to have Cabinet [Wednesday], and I imagine that there will be a conversation as to finding 30 odd idle persons, who are living here in the shelters in Antigua and let them understand that they cannot continue to enjoy the salary from a council, while there is an empty shelter in Barbuda,” Nicholas stated.
According to Nicholas, the shelter in Barbuda has the capacity to accommodate more than 35 people. However, the shelter which is equipped with bathrooms, kitchen and living quarters, remains empty.
“Somebody has got to go back and occupy that shelter in Barbuda and start to do the work to clean up the island. We are heading into a new hurricane season and there is filth and debris everywhere. We have got to do something about it and we have to demonstrate to the people who are paying the taxes that this government is serious about changing around the island,” the minister said.
Nicholas said the government is spending approximately $1.4 million monthly to accommodate Barbudans who are still living in shelters while the government and the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) shoulder the burden in the recovery efforts.
“This has got to stop,” Nicholas noted.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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