Walker: Eviction of Barbudans disturbing

Trevor Walker

By Carlena Knight

Barbuda’s MP Trevor Walker has expressed outrage regarding the recent eviction of Barbudans who were residing at the Barrymore Hotel.

Officials from the Ministry of Housing and Works carried out the exercise on Saturday.

Walker, while speaking on OBSERVER AM on Monday, called the recent actions disturbing.

“I was very disturbed by the descriptions given, you know, even by the media. The remaining ‘squatters at Barrymore have been evicted’ and I am just wondering when the jargon and that derogatory language will stop. It is something we resent and I want the public to know that Barbudans resent being called squatters at any time, based on what has happened for the past two years.”

He also accused the government of mismanaging relief funds which he says were used on the same Barrymore Hotel and other shelters which formerly housed Barbudans.

“The reality is, and I mean, I would say this, that millions of our relief dollars, millions were spent on the Barrymore Hotel, millions were spent on the [Nurses] Hostel. We were thrown out of the Hostel and Fiennes is there now, and again Barbudans are being evicted from the Barrymore.

“The government, up to date, has not been able to provide any accounting whatsoever of monies spent.”

The Barbuda Council Head further accused the government and NODS of mistreating the Barbudans and painting a fake picture of unity and camaraderie, which he says is far from the truth.

“I was one, along with my colleagues on the Council, who was appealing for persons to come back home; and I am sure a lot people can remember that, but you will always have situations that do not work out as planned and I am just saying that the way that Barbudans were treated, and still are being treated, is unacceptable.

“If it is that the government through NODS and the Public Works would have sat with the Council and said: ‘listen this is the situation: do you need to upgrade your shelters in Barbuda in a particular way so that we can work together to have these Barbudans relocated to Barbuda then that would have been a different matter.

“On one hand they want the public to believe that this thing is amicable and everything is working fine and all that; and we are not going to accept that.”

Walker also continues to encourage Barbudans to come home.

“Had that money been spent in Barbuda to upgrade the shelters over here, then we would not have had this problem, so I find that we have been slapped on two sides of the face in this. One, the monies were spent, and now out; and two, the government cannot tell us how much of our relief money was spent on that.

“You know the Barbuda Council still waits with open arms for our people. We will do whatever we have to do to accommodate them. We are in the heart of the hurricane season. We have prepared two of our shelters already, and regardless of what the situation is, I just want to say to our people that we will do whatever we have to do to accommodate them if they return to Barbuda.”