Nibbs says re-opening bank on Barbuda is a priority

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Arthur Nibbs, member of parliament for Barbuda, says getting Barbuda’s lone bank operational is one way he plans to speed up the recovery on the sister-isle ahead of Christmas.
“We can’t be encouraging people to go back to Barbuda and then they can’t get access to their money so that is something we will definitely take on board,” Nibbs said.
The Barbuda Affairs minister also said he has heard the concerns of residents who have to conduct all transactions at the Antigua Commercial Bank office in Antigua if they want to withdraw or make deposits on their accounts.
Speaking to OBSERVER media following the Cuba-CARICOM summit, Nibbs said although the “pace has picked up” on Barbuda “it is not yet to the level he would have loved it.”
According to him, the public will be “satisfied with the progress on Barbuda” within the next few weeks, specifically “before Christmas.”
He expressed the sentiment that his constituents are still in a state of shock, although it has been three months since Hurricane Irma’s destruction and the threat posed by Hurricane Jose required their mandatory evacuation to Antigua.
So far, the Barbudans have benefited from the presence of 27 Cubans, whose work teams comprise electricians, carpenters and masons to accelerate the recovery.
On Friday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told reporters that the government is looking to extend the contracts of the Cubans for another 60 to 90 days because their contracts will expire sometime this week.
Both Nibbs and the prime minister commended the Cuban government for its quick response following Irma, even though that country was also affected by hurricanes this year.
Nibbs explained that he is “trying to integrate with Cuba and learn lessons from them,” because of their solid track record on disaster response and rehabilitating its people.
“The secret behind that is educating your people, the masses must know exactly what to do and when to do it and to be educated about disasters all together so you can respond in a great way,” Nibbs said.
He referred to the adage: “teaching a man how to fish rather than giving him a fish” to explain what has to be done in Barbuda in the future.

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