Ambassador encourages people to pay attention to Barbuda after Irma devastation


Hurricane Irma has completely devastated one of the two major islands making up the sovereign Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

On Monday, September 11, even as Hurricane Irma was performing its "dance macabre" over the other countries in the Caribbean, having delivered cruel blows to the USA and British Virgin Islands, and all of the French/Dutch Island, St Martin/St Maarten, Pope Francis restated his conviction that Climate Change is real and perilous.

Many of Barbuda's residents were relocated to Antigua, which did not suffer as much damage. "You can not be the biggest and most powerful country in the world and have small islands right on your doorstep on the so-called third border".

As the evacuation was underway, Browne told the BBC that a fast rebuild and recovery operation on the island was unlikely to happen.

This week, De Niro sat down exclusively with CNN's Poppy Harlow to talk about his connection to the now-decimated island paradise, which he first visited decades ago.

The government thinks it could cost roughly $200 million rebuild - money that it doesn't have. The British Virgin Islands and St Martin, the island shared by the Dutch and the French, also saw catastrophic damage.

"It's just a handsome place, and it's quiet, and the people are nice", De Niro told Harlow.

"I'm anxious about them because that's my livelihood", he said.

But not everyone on the island was thrilled about the resort project. He said their government simply can not afford it. Browne went on to say that they hope worldwide partners and friendly governments will come forward to assist the island.

"We removed 1700 people plus from Barbuda to Antigua, and we've had to find shelter and food and water, and all of that for them while at the same time thinking about how we get 500 school children into schools", he added.

Sanders says the world must step up and help Barbuda. "The most important thing is people first".

Barbuda, turned brown after Irma's passage.

"So that is the best way that you can help Barbuda, is by taking a vacation and coming to Antigua", said Asot Michael, tourism minister of Antigua and Barbuda. De Niro and some of his personal friends have contributed.

He said that Prime Minister Gaston Browne is already engaged about the need for a careful and well documented plan for the rebuilding of Barbuda that is sustainable, viable and "bankable' to attract the necessary funding". And on Thursday, her team handed over a generator to help run the local water plant.

"But they can't go back home while the island is in the present condition".

CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque on Wednesday toured several hurricane- devastated islands and said an worldwide donors conference will be convened to mobilise the "significant resources" required for the recovery effort.