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Barbudan Activist Accuses Local Leaders of Plotting Land Sellout with Central Government

Devon Warner, Chairman of the Barbuda Council, has vehemently refuted allegations suggesting collaboration between the Barbuda People Movement (BPM) led Council and the Antiguan Central government to sell Barbuda lands.

In a press statement released late Monday afternoon, Warner addressed the accusations head-on, dismissing them as baseless. “There seems to be those among us who thrive on anarchy and deception. The Council will not allow this cancer to grow and fester,” Warner declared.

He added that anyone who takes issue with how the council operates is aware that there is an election process for anyone who deems that “the Council is not functioning in the interest of the people of Barbuda. They are free to challenge and add their names to the ballot”.

His statements are in response to accusations by an activist and executive member from the Barbuda Land Rights and Resources Committee (BLRRC), who branded the Council and the leader of the BPM as “Trojan Horses” in the fight to protect Barbuda’s land.

“There are persons and representatives who are in collusion with the persons over the water, hand in hand, and trying to move the agenda forward for the sellout of Barbuda and the decimation of Barbuda people, land, and culture,” said Johnson.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne shares a laugh with Barbuda MP Trevor Walker while Chairman of the Barbuda Council Devon Warner looks away and the prime minister’s wife and Minister of Lands Maria Bird-Browne looks on during the commissioning of the hybrid electricity plant on Barbuda. (phot credit Office of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page)

The central government passed a law last June to dismantle communal land ownership on Barbuda, a move that both the Barbuda Council and Member of Parliament, Trevor Walker, have opposed publicly. 

However, the BLRRC executive member claims that despite opposition, certain Council members are advancing plans that could undermine local governance, effectively ceding power to the central government.  “There is a majority of representatives in the Barbuda Council that are following a path of destruction and I honestly believe that the representative of Barbuda, and representatives in the Council … they are trying to dismantle the Barbuda Council and make Barbuda Council null and void, and therefore transfer the powers to the central government.”

Accusations of “treachery”, “lies”, and “deception” were made by Johnson, with concerns raised over the perceived lack of action by the Barbuda Council and local government to prevent the alleged sellout of Barbuda. He insisted that neither the Barbuda Council nor the local government are taking adequate measures to prevent the alleged sellout of Barbuda.

“The real battle we’re having now is with the representation which is given to us through the Barbuda Council and the representative for Barbuda,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s allegations come days after Prime Minister Gaston Browne told Barbudans that his government will continue with its development plan for the island, no matter what measures the Barbuda people may take.

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