By Dana Niland
It’s time to create a sustainable development plan for the devastated island of Barbuda, according to Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister Asot Michael.
Michael’s call came during the minister’s contribution to a special sitting of Parliament, which was geared towards the ratification of Barbuda’s State of Emergency in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
According to Minister Michael, while only rough estimates of the cost of the damage on the island have been conducted, it will take millions of dollars to rebuild the island.
“Essential to the task of attracting necessary financial resources from the international community is a sustainable development plan,” Michael said. “No international financial institution or donor government will provide resources without a plan that clearly indicates that Barbuda will be rebuilt to meet Category 5 Hurricane conditions.”
Michael said erecting structures similar to what previously existed will not encourage any government or finance rebuilding, as they would regard such actions as throwing their taxpayers’ money into a never-ending hole.
With consideration of the island’s geographical location, the minister acknowledged the possibility of such a disaster reoccurring in the future.
“The Government of Antigua and Barbuda would certainly not have the money to rebuild after every disaster, and the international community would not support the government,” he said.
He said that the solution will come from “the use of land, building codes and regulations and the implementation of internationally acceptable standards, which would have to be legislated, applied and enforced by the Government of Barbuda just as they are on Antigua and in every part of the world.”