'Me nar move', Barbudan father says

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Only a few Barbudans heeded the notice from the National Office of Disaster (NODS) to leave the National Technical Training Centre on Saturday despite what appeared to be an effort to intimidate them into moving that day.
Officials from the disaster agency visited the shelter on Saturday along with members of the Royal Police Force of
Antigua and Barbuda to escort the Barbudans off the premises.
Several families packed up their belongings and put them on the street outside the Nugent Avenue shelter in Antigua that day, while, according to one resident there, Ionnie Jeffrey, NODS had long taken back electrical appliances such as stoves, refrigerators and other items which were given to the Barbudans to help them feel comfortable at the shelter after they were evacuated last year September. The Barbudans were told last Wednesday that they had until Friday to leave or they would be evicted.
 Wednesday’s notice was the third and final warning.
 Shelter occupants had defied two previous orders to leave.
Jeffrey, who said she has nowhere to go because the rental home in Barbuda in which resided was damaged and taken back by the owner for repairs, is appealing to the authorities to help the Barbudans like her. She said they are currently cooking on coal pots using wood fire and she currently begs daily to get by.
She said she believes her family is being discriminated against, and she also indicated that the Barbuda MP, Trevor Walker, has not visited the
shelter to enquire about the future of the Barbudans in the shelter.
It is unclear as to what eventually happened on Saturday, between the people at the shelter and NODS/the police, however on Sunday, a resident Ken Christian, informed our newsroom that while everyone packed their belongings and camped out in front of the building on Saturday awaiting further instructions, only two or three people actually left.
He’s one of several Barbudans who were moved from shelter to shelter as government has been closing them down one by one. First, he was at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium which was used as a shelter, then to the Nurses Hostel and finally to the NTTC where he has been living for several months.
Christian, who is staying at the shelter with his partner and their five children, including a one-month-old baby, said he is still there because he has no housing alternative as yet. He said that other families remain at the facility and according to him, NODS did not give any notice in writing indicating they must evacuate. The man said his knowledge about the notices to leave came from what he heard on the news.
Christian said he has a house in Barbuda but the windows were “broken out” and he has been trying to get it repaired but “it is a fight, a serious fight, a politics t’ing.” He also said he had returned to Barbuda with his three year old son whose skin broke out with rashes and they left after a nurse advised him that the environment was not good for the child.
He said that on Saturday he asked the director of NODS, Philmore Mullin, about transportation to move from NTTC, but was told he had to fend for himself.
“When it comes to fuh me kids and fuh me mom, me go dead fuh dem. Me nar move, you seen, me nar move, because where me go move go? Me hab one house in Barbuda yes, but me carn carry  back me family inna de condition wha’ a tek place inna Barbuda so dem go haffu do something and me nar move,” he said in an interview on Saturday with OBSERVER media on site.
Meanwhile, Mullin, has maintained that the Barbudans must leave, insisting that the school at NTTC needs to go back to normal operations.
“We cannot continue sheltering persons a year after [Hurricane Irma]. For you to tell me your’re working and you cannot find a house is simply not true. There are people living in the shelter who are working and are just not looking for housing,” Mullin said.
He said that NODS is willing to absorb the cost of Barbudans who want to relocate, however, those who refuse will have to make alternative arrangements.

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