Shelter Drama – who is telling the truth?

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A Barbudan educator this week publicly disagreed with Melford Nicholas, information minister, that a shelter on Barbuda that is empty has all the requirements to adequately accommodate 30 people.
The minister, who spoke in Parliament on Monday, suggested that the shelter was empty because there are many displaced Barbudans living in Antigua who are unwilling to return to occupy it.
“There are bathrooms, there are kitchen facilities and living quarters. But the shelter is empty….somebody has got to go back to occupy that shelter in Barbdua and start doing the work on the ground to clean-up Barbuda,” the minister said.
The shelter he referred to on Barbuda, is the Sports Complex, which was rebuilt about three months ago, following damage from Hurricane Irma last September.
While the government is saying the facility is completed and is ready for Barbudans, Rae Beazer, who is currently residing on the island had a different prespective when she was interviewed on Connecting with Dave later that day.
“It is not ready. How can you have 35 persons living in a shelter with one bathroom?”
“I went in there with one UNICEF member and one lady from the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and we looked around. It’s a two-storey building, downstairs has a kitchen and a living room and the upstairs has the bedrooms and one bathroom,” Beazer said.
Meanwhile, Philmore Mullin, director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) also sought to bring some level of clarity to the matter.
Mullin told OBSERVER media that there are actually two bathrooms at the shelter. He explained that each bathroom has no fewer than four toilets and showers.
He also disclosed that a container was refurbished and turned into extra showers and has space for additional toilets, but it was not necessary because of the number of toilets in the Sports Complex.
The NODS director said that once the facility opens there will be a shelter manager, and residents must adhere to the rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, Beazer contended that people who are being accommodated in shelters in Antigua have keys to their rooms and a certain level of privacy which is not available in the facilities on the sister island.
“You have six to eight persons in the same room, what sort of privacy can you have? There is no room to lock. When the Barbudans come over to stay where is their privacy, you just can’t do it,” Beazer said.

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