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Oct 25, 2017

Antigua Minister Says Rebuilding Will Cost Hundreds of Millions

E.P. Chet Greene

But even as Barbuda is in the early stages of rebuilding, the next hurricane season starts in seven months.   According to Minister Greene, the greatest challenge facing the island is that even as the recovery process takes place, there is no access to concessionary funding because they are told that the gross domestic product in that country is too high. He says the government needs an estimated three hundred million dollars to recover, but a timeframe for a return to normalcy on the island cannot be determined at this time.

 

E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs

“Where we stand in the scheme of things now we are actually in the clean up phase of Barbuda and so rebuilding becomes the next phase of that overall project and process. We are building stronger, we are building more resilient; of course those are some of the things, but that’s a challenge as well because Barbudans have been in some ways itching to go back to the island. And so it is one of those things that you have to be so careful with because you want to make sure that persons return, because that is inevitable, but that they return where the conditions are suitable. They return where the building codes have been strengthened and the actual building of the buildings is threatened and the public infrastructure. That too took severe beating during the storm. So it is building from almost scratch on Barbuda and so we have asked for patience, we have asked for tolerance on the part of Barbudans. We’ve asked the international community for assistance because our economy size cannot undertake the enormity of the task.”

 

Duane Moody

“And there is no timeframe really by when everything will come back to normal.”

 

E.P. Chet Greene

“Well I can tell you that it is about three hundred million dollars that we are asked to find or that we have to find to do the rebuilding of both public and private structures and to make the country not only resilient but we also want to go in the direction of a green economy in Barbuda. And so we want to make Barbuda, upon being rebuilt, a model community—not only a model for the Caribbean, not only a model for the Eastern Caribbean; a global model of resilience and the green effect of what is being discussed globally.”

 

Greene says that from a Caribbean perspective, they are recommending and strongly advocating for a vulnerability index to be put in place to deal with the Caribbean challenges.

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