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The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) is clearing the air regarding recent comments made about the list of persons benefiting from ongoing recovery projects in Barbuda following Hurricane Irma in 2017.

NODS has been accused of removing names from a beneficiaries list and Director Philmore Mullin believes this accusation is deliberate to remove responsibility from the guilty parties. 

Mullin says there are two beneficiary select committees – one that deals with the European Union-funded project and the other that focuses on the Prince’s Foundation project. The Prince’s Foundation Committee is chaired by the Chairperson of the Barbuda Council, and is made up of a representative from NODS, a BPM member, an ALP Barbuda member, a Faith-based organization from Barbuda, and someone from the Prince’s Foundation usually takes part in the meetings. The EU Committee consists of representatives from the UNDP, the National Authorizing Office (NAO) for EU projects, the Ministry of Works, the Ministry of Agriculture and Barbuda Affairs, the Development Control Authority, NODS and the Barbuda Council.

According to Mullin, committee members are responsible for selecting beneficiaries based on very clear criteria. No single member of either of the committees has the authority to remove any name from any list without a majority vote from the membership. 

The NODS Director points out that throughout the verification process there have been names appearing on both lists who were asked to decide which project they wish to benefit from, concerns over whether individuals on the lists owned the houses in which they were living and other unresolved matters. These names, Mr. Mullin notes, were not removed but were placed at the bottom of the lists for further verification.

He further stated that the individual who made the claim about NODS removing names from beneficiaries lists is not a member of any of the committees nor is he someone with whom committee members consult. 

As part of the EU-funded project, implemented by UNDP, twenty houses have already been completed and handed over while another eighty-four houses will be built or repaired. The Prince’s Foundation has so far approved the construction of five houses.