ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Barbuda Council member Arthur Nibbs has threatened to bring a vote of “no confidence” in the body if a meeting is not called soon to devise a strategy to deal with the council’s money woes that has been exacerbated by the April 9 cessation of sand mining.
Nibbs yesterday said he had not received official notification of a meeting date, despite discussions on the matter with council chairman Kelvin Punter. Members must receive three days notice before a meeting can be held.
At the end of March, council members passed a resolution to end sand mining with the agreement that a public consultation would be held to advise the sister isle’s estimated 2,000 residents of the reasons for the decision.
Punter, in an earlier interview with OBSERVER Media, said some members were off-island, creating challenges in calling a meeting. In spite of this, he said he was hoping to have a meeting today or on Monday.
The party chairman acknowledged the urgency of the situation in light of the likely financial fallout over the end to sand mining, which, for the past 30 years, had been a revenue source.
And, while he acknowledged that a “crash” is possible, he steered clear of predicting how soon this could happen.
“Once we get our subvention which is what is estimated by central government, I think we have enough time to put measures in place and I hope we can achieve that before a final crash comes,” he stated.
Since 2010, the Barbuda Council has been struggling to meet its financial obligations, including salary payments to more than 400 employees.
At last check, Punter said, these payments were lagging by three to four weeks.
The Barbuda Council collects more than $300,000 monthly from central government.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)