Although work has recommenced on the Barbuda airport runway, Finance Minister and Prime Minister Gaston Browne is not quite satisfied with its pace, because according to him, the injunction filed against the construction work caused serious delays on the project.
Furthermore, Browne said only a small fraction of workers are on the project, approximately 12 of them.
“They are not back to full capacity. My understanding is that a couple of dozens of people are working there, most of them Barbudans…,” he said.
According to the prime minister, these workers may have to do overtime because there’s a deadline for the completion of work on the project.
“They have to complete the runway within the next thirty to sixty days…. They are ramping up now. We are moving swiftly because it is one of the requirements for a major project,” Browne added.
At the same time though, residents in Barbuda and individuals who have been travelling to and from the island for the past two weeks say work has actually stopped, not slowed down.
Photographic evidence of a deserted site seem to support their claim over claims of work being done at a slow pace.
On August 2, High Court Judge Rosalyn E. Wilkinson instructed that all construction on the international airport in Barbuda be stopped immediately until further notice.
The ruling was in favour of Marine Biologist John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank, both of Barbuda, who filed the civil case challenging the construction for a number of reasons.
The applicants claimed that the Department of Environment warned the government of environmental risks, yet the Development Control Authority and the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority continued with the development.
And then in September, the injunction was lifted, paving the way for work to resume on the project.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne says the court is unlikely to impose further injunctions on the project.
“Unless they can show to the court that they have the capacity to pay any damages, the court is unlikely to give any other injunctions, “the prime minister said.