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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Secretary of the Barbuda Council Paul Nedd is calling for some businesses on the sister isle – which he said are accommodating the illegal entry of yachters – to be severely reprimanded.

Nedd told Observer that these individuals are entering Barbuda without undergoing proper screening and, according to him, this is putting the small populated island at risk of Covid-19 spread.

He said the council will take a decision to “bring everybody in line as to how we will safeguard the public”.

“There are situations where the Council is doing its best to screen everyone that comes in on plane and boat, but I believe there are there are circumstances where people are entering without being screened,” he said

Additionally, he said some of these yachters arrive impromptu, without informing the relevant authorities of their travel history or state of health.

“They give no information or clarification that they are coming so procedures can be put in place by the health department, because people tend to land and come in by yachts and boats and planes, that the Barbuda Council does not have any control over,” he explained.

He said these yacht visits have always been a longstanding issue for the council.

“Yachts have always been open to Antigua and Barbuda. We are one, so you can’t stop anyone moving between the islands. As they say, Antigua to Barbuda is like going from Old Road to Point, Cedar Grove to Crosbies … we take a different view because you have to travel 30 miles of deep ocean to enter into Barbuda and not any man can do that,” he said.

“We need to put the necessary practices in place to protect our small indigenous community,” Nedd added.