After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a ‘Ghost Town’

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 1a

The Caribbean is in crisis today; we have just been devastated by Hurricane Irma; it has wreaked catastrophic havoc in certain islands, of which Barbuda is most notable. This is an official declaration; the Prime Minister of the country of Antigua and Barbuda has identified  90 percent of the structures on the island of Barbuda as uninhabitable and can now only be razed; see story in Appendix A below. See the news VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Barbuda, Destroyed By Hurricane Irma, Faces Jose Next | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Published on Sep 8, 2017 MSNBC
Michael Joseph, Red Cross president for Antigua and Barbuda, talks with Rachel Maddow about the utter devastation of the island of Barbuda by Hurricane Irma with Hurricane Jose just a day away. » Subscribe to MSNBC: About: MSNBC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a full schedule of live news coverage, political opinions and award-winning documentary programming — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Connect with MSNBC Online Visit Find MSNBC on Facebook: Follow MSNBC on Twitter: Follow MSNBC on Google+: Follow MSNBC on Instagram: Follow MSNBC on Tumblr: Barbuda, Destroyed By Hurricane Irma, Faces Jose Next | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

(Other impacted locales include Saint BarthélemySaint MartinAnguilla, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida).

Barbuda is a cautionary tale because it fulfills the forecast (prophecy) of this previous commentary, that if left unchecked, Caribbean crises get worse, completely dysfunctional, at the precipice of Failed-State status and communities emerge as …

Ghost Towns

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town or city, usually one which contains substantial visible remains. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, or nuclear disasters. …

    “Things will always work themselves out” – Popular fallacy.

There is no guarantee of our survival. Communities and societies do fail; success is not assured; the work must be done, we must “sow if we want to reap”. …

How else would one explain why citizens from the most beautiful addresses on the planet are “breaking down the doors” to get out, either through legal means or illegal ones?

The book Go Lean … Caribbean stresses reboots, reorganizations and general turn-around of failing economic engines in favor of winning formulas. The book quotes a noted American Economist Paul Romer with this famous quotation:

    “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 1b

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 1c

The movement behind the Go Lean book have often raised the subject of Ghost Towns. Just last month (August 22), this commentary was published:

Lessons from Colorado: Black Ghost Towns – “Booker T. turning in his grave”

So the future is not guaranteed for any Caribbean community. While our people may survive, our culture may not! We may have to supplant ourselves to some foreign destination. We may have to “take our talents to South Beach” … or South New York… or South Toronto, etc..

Prophecy: If we migrate to a foreign country, our grandchildren born there will NOT be identified as Caribbean.

So Ghost Towns have occurred and could happen in the Caribbean … again.

This commentary continues the 4-part series on the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This storm was devastating to the Atlantic tropical region, the Caribbean and US State of Florida. There are a lot of mitigation and remediation efforts that can be done to lessen the impact of storms. There are lessons that we must consider; there are reforms we must make; there are problems we must solve. The full list of the 4 entries of this series are detailed as follows:

  1. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – America Should Scrap the ‘Jones Act’
  2. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Barbuda Becomes a ‘Ghost Town’
  3. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – The Science of Power Restoration
  4. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Failed State Indicators: Destruction and Defection

We want to make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. This is the quest of the book Go Lean … Caribbean – available to download for free – which serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). Despite the threats of Climate Change, the CU is structured to turn-around failing Caribbean communities; it is proffered to provide economic, security and governance solutions for all 30 member Caribbean states. This mandate is detailed early on in the book’s Declaration of Interdependence, as follows (Page 11 – 13):

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

The Go Lean book posits that failing Caribbean communities can be rescued, butt if “we do what we have always done, we get what we always got”. Therefore Caribbean communities must adopt different community ethos, plus the executions of key – and different – strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reform and transform.

There is a Way Forward!

Consider this News Article in Appendix B relating the Prime Minister’s fundamental change in property laws for Barbuda:

Ownership is prohibited on the island of Barbuda; all lands in Barbuda are vested in the Crown on behalf of the people on the sister island. … “Whatever land they are occupying now, rather than having a license to occupy, we are saying that we will give … freehold ownership”.

Why should people invest in property they do not own?

Duh! This is such a basic societal factor; it is illogical that the government had not implemented this reform before.

In order to avoid the pitfalls and eventuality of “Ghost Towns”, the Go Lean book describes the heavy-lifting that all the community stakeholders must engage. These efforts are described as 3 prime directives:

Heavy-lifting and leverage!!!

Yes, since natural disasters – hurricanes, earthquakes and even volcanoes – are an inevitability in the Caribbean, we can better insure and assure the continuity of our communities’ societal engines, by spreading the risk across the wider region, not just one member-state. For relief-recovery-rebuilding communities like Barbuda after disasters, the goal is to spread the burden or heavy-lifting across the 30 member-states.

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me
Song: Lean On Me by Bill Withers – Go Lean Book (Page 5)

In summary, ghost towns could abound more and more if we continue with the status quo. Let’s not … continue with the more-of-the-same approach.

Let’s commit to this pledge to foster change in our region; we must reform and transform our societal engines. Everyone is hereby urged to lean-in to this CU/Go Lean roadmap to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix ATitle: PM: 90 Percent of Barbuda ‘Destroyed’ by Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma has done catastrophic damage to “90 percent of Barbuda,” according to Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, after it barreled past the island nation and through the Caribbean on Wednesday. An official from the country’s Office of Disaster Services told ABC News said there was “widespread damage” across the island, which is home to 1,600 people. Authorities in St. Martin said 95 percent of the French part of the island was destroyed, with one local official saying the storm caused an “enormous catastrophe.” Irma made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds above 185 mph, and is expected to hit Florida on Saturday night.

Source: The Daily Beast Online Newswire posted September 7, 2017 from:

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 3

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 6

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 5

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 4


Appendix BTitle: Barbudans to get title ownerships of lands they occupy

Antigua Observer – Barbudans will get the opportunity to own the lands they previously occupied as the island seeks to rebuild following the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Irma last week.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne made the disclosure yesterday during a special sitting of Parliament.

He said Barbudans would be given a crown grant of one dollar to obtain legal ownership of the lands on the 62-square mile island.

Currently, land ownership is prohibited on the island of Barbuda; all lands in Barbuda are vested in the crown on behalf of the people on the sister island.

The Land Department under the Barbuda Council is the main governing body.

“Whatever land they are occupying now, rather than having a license to occupy, we are saying that we will give you freehold ownership,” Browne said, noting that residents of the sister island are elated over the idea.

“When you give a Barbudan a freehold, they can go into the bank, they can borrow monies, they can get a mortgage, they can build. They can get a loan for student purposes, to do businesses, it is a form of empowerment,” Browne said.

The nation’s leader also suggested that protective mechanisms could be instituted to prevent Barbudans from transferring the freehold ownership without the approval of the Barbuda Council.

Browne told Parliamentarians in the Lower House that it is untenable for Barbuda to be exclusively dependent on Antigua.

According to Browne, it was never the intent of the central government to take full responsibility for the payment of salaries and wages and other expenses on the sister island.

He said the intention was for Barbuda to be able to generate some level of revenue while Antigua would provide a subsidy.

“It has become a dependent relationship. Now I know that the Barbudans are proud people and they don’t want to be coming, cap in hand, to Antigua begging for a salary cheque on a weekly or monthly basis when they can generate their income,” the PM concluded.

Over 1,000 people on Barbuda had to be evacuated from the island last week after the country’s leader described the situation as “uninhabitable” following the hurricane that has also been blamed for the death of a two-year old child.

The PM said the sister island could not progress until the land tenure question is settled, adding that no country can move forward without a proper rights system.

He said consultations would be held with the people of Barbuda on the way forward.

Meanwhile, the government has announced a tentative agreement with the United Arab Emirates to assist with the installation of 800-megawatt solar power  facility on Barbuda, as well as a medical health system.

Prime Minister Browne also said that he had instructed his bank to transfer EC$100,000  from his savings to a fund for the rehabilitation of the island.

Other Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party members have also pledged to dip into their pockets to fund the rebuilding effort.

PM Browne said that he expects other residents and businesses to step up to the plate.

Source: Posted September 12, 2017; retrieved September 16, 2017 from:

Share this post:
, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *