Organisers of the first ever, Barbuda Rising Homecoming are encouraging Barbudans living in Antigua and abroad to view the event as an opportunity to reconnect, rebuild and restore Barbuda, and not one to be affiliated with politics.
Committee member, Darlene Beazer, said, although the government of Antigua and Barbuda has provided assistance towards the staging of the event, people should not deviate from the objective.
“What we really want to focus on is the community coming together to do this, so we are not heavily leaning on any government to say you’re funding this. They [government] are supporting, but in terms of the heavy lifting, community people are getting together to do this. We are trying to do this as a group and to maintain that community spirit,” she said.
Meanwhile another member, Omyma David said, “this is not a BPM or ABLP event, this is a Barbuda Homecoming for Antiguans and Barbudans and friends.”
The organisers said they are so far pleased with what they have accomplished and that will be reflected in the activities and through the level of involvement, “no matter what the political situation is.”
It is being estimated that approximately 400 to 500 people from the diaspora, as well as hundreds of Barbudans in Antigua and Barbuda, will be attending the event, which starts on July 21 and ends on July 27.
Beazer said, “There is no budget set for the event, but we are all getting together to pitch in, to continue to do the clean-up and it is bringing people who have not been there together. We are coming to continue the progress that is already ongoing, and I am hoping that the message of rebuilding, keep going and don’t give up, is what we will get at the end of this Homecoming.”
David said that the Theme, Barbuda Rising conveys “Barbuda on the rise again and Barbuda coming out of the ashes and out of the space of devastation and destruction, and it was also chosen to convey hope to the Barbudans who have gone through the devastation of hurricane Irma.”
Some of the activities planned includes a clean-up, ribbon cutting and ‘pap night’ on July 21, Thanksgiving service on July 22, historical hike, exhibition and genealogical mapping on July 23, and sports day on July 27.