The statement made by Antigua Labour Party representative on the Barbuda Council, Senator Arthur Nibbs, that the council’s inability to pay workers last week was due to “a very slow period when it came to the sale of sand,” has infuriated community activist John Mussington.
Nibbs suggested that the fact that their largest customer, Antigua Masonry Products was now crushing its own material has impacted the Barbuda sand business. But Mussington scoffed at the notion, telling The Daily OBSERVER, “When I heard the member of council making the excuses that sand mining has slowed down, I get very upset with a statement like that. The reason I get upset is because what he is saying there is giving the impression that nothing has transpired before with respect to that sand.”
According to Mussington, sand should not be spoken of as a viable industry, since in 2006, the Environment Division directed that sand mining should cease. However, he said, because of manoeuvrings at the level of Cabinet, Environment Division gave permission to the council to mine an additional 103 acres so that it could wean itself from sand and find alternative economic sources.
Mussington’s sentiments were strongly seconded by former chairperson of the Council Frances Beazer, who said, “He is perfectly correct. I back him up on everything that he said.” Beazer said that sand mining continues but it should have stopped about five years ago. When asked, she cited the reviving of agriculture as the best alternative source of revenue for Barbuda.
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