The two-time extended eviction notice to hurricane displaced Barbudans, who have been living in a government shelter in Antigua for nearly a year, takes effect today and the 40 occupants say they still have not secured any alternative place to live.
They told OBSERVER media they have no problem moving from the National Technical Training Centre (NTTC) building, but they can only do so if the government finds a place where they could stay.
The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) issued the third and final notice on Wednesday after indicating in a press release that the Barbudans have missed two previous deadlines and that failure to leave NTTC will result in eviction.
The disaster agency explained that families at the facility have the opportunity to move back to Barbuda or secure their own housing here in Antigua. NODS has also offered to provide transportation for those who are returning to the sister island.
There are about 40 people, mostly women and children, remaining at the shelter which is located on Nugent Avenue in the vicinity of the Yasco Sports Complex. The residents are contending that most of their children are already enrolled in schools in Antigua and it would be unfair to disrupt their lives to return to Barbuda which is still in a state of recovery.
They also claimed that “due to politics” most of them will not have access to the shelters that are being set up to house returning Barbudans. They bemoaned that they are now left to fend for themselves as they are no longer benefiting from any government support.
They shared their stories with OBSERVER media during a visit to the facility on Thursday.
Maudlyn Simon, who has children and grandchildren living with her, said, ”If they want the building they have to find somewhere for us to go, our children are in schools, we are not moving them.”
A mother of two who identified herself only as Ms. Punter, said that while she was able to secure a job as a cleaner at the National Archives of Antigua and Barbuda, she has to wait at least three months before she is able to receive a salary which puts her in a very difficult position.
Curtis Fenton, the only male who was on the compound at the time of the OBSERVER media visit, expressed concern about the current state of Barbuda and his son’s health.