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A local contractor has been awarded the contract for the first phase of the Wa’omoni Cottages, Barbuda Hurricane relief project.
He is Vernon Challenger, managing director of Challenger’s Enterprises Ltd, a release said.
The project is being funded by the Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF), in partnership with the Prince’s Foundation. The organisations announced the partnership in January, with CAF contributing US$1 million to the initiative intended to provide resilient homes for families left homeless as a result of the devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the partners in May at Government House to move the initiative to the next stage.
“Challenger’s Enterprises Ltd is pleased to be associated with the Wa’omoni Cottages project and the Prince’s Foundation. We are also delighted to be working (again) with the Calvin Ayre Foundation, which has a proven track record of community-building and excellence,” Challenger said.
“The project takes on added significance, not only because of the positive impact for the housing stock on Barbuda, but also because during the dislocation caused by Covid-19, where each of us in our own small corner must play a part, it will be a net positive for the country.”
In response to the donation by CAF, Challenger, added, “This is money that will go directly into the economy via the workers, who will come from both islands, and through the procurement of goods and services from local providers.”
The local contractor travelled to Barbuda last Wednesday to officially meet with the Barbuda Council, which has been closely involved in the development of the initiative, identifying land that was cleared and surveyed in January, in preparation for construction.
“The Barbuda Council and the people of Barbuda are delighted, with much excitement, to know that we are shifting gears towards breaking ground for the Wa’omoni Cottages shortly,” said Calsey Beazer, chairperson of the Barbuda Council.
Chairman of CAF, Calvin Ayre, said that with the current Covid-19 climate, his Foundation could have adopted a wait-and-see approach until the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic had passed.
“We feel that this project is important in supporting the recovery of the local economy, and we are keen to help it press forward as soon as possible,” Ayre said.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Senator Knacyntar Nedd, said, “I know many Barbudans are looking forward to seeing this housing project come to fruition. It will provide much meaningful employment for contractors and tradesmen. It also means that homeowners in Barbuda who were not able to rebuild after Hurricane Irma will have the opportunity to get a hurricane-resilient home for them and their families.”
The Prince’s Foundation’s support to Barbuda follows a visit to the twin-island state by charity president, the Prince of Wales, following the 2017 disaster. Having seen the desolation first-hand, he wanted to help rebuild in a way that ensures housing is resilient in the face of future climate challenges.
The Calvin Ayre Foundation, well known for a range of philanthropic activity and support in Antigua and Barbuda and beyond, was also keen to find a way to respond to the housing needs of the people of Barbuda, supplying funding and technical support to the design and construction of the houses.

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