Minister Michael leads Barbuda relief effort by example

St. John’s, Antigua, WI (September 11, 2017). As life in Antigua returns to normal following hurricane Irma, the country’s relief effort to rebuild the sister island of Barbuda has shifted into high gear with all hands on deck.

In the first meeting of Parliament post Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Gaston Browne gave a detailed assessment of the damage inflicted on the sister island and made a commitment that the Government has set a target to raise EC$50M for the Barbuda relief effort during the next 90 days. The country requires a focused response and strong leadership to ensure that relief funds are raised as quickly as possible so that the rebuilding can commence in earnest.

In his address to Parliament today, Minister of Tourism Hon Asot A. Michael gave the nation a report on the recent damage assessment to the country’s tourism plant, which remained largely intact, and also used the opportunity to set an example that charity begins at home. The Tourism Minster along with his mother Ambassador Josette Michael then graciously made a donation of US$200,000 to the Barbuda Relief effort.

The Minister indicated that this was driven by his abiding love for the people of Barbuda, who along with the people of Antigua have supported his own family in their own hour of need. He recalled when his great grandparents arrived as poor immigrant farmers 136 years ago from the tiny village of Bahzoun in Lebanon the indigenous people of Antigua and Barbuda accepted them with open arms. The Minister recounted that it was those ordinary indigenous people of Antigua and Barbuda who for four generations had supported his family’s business and helped to create wealth for Antigua and Barbuda.

In his charge to the nation to come together in unity to support the Barbuda relief effort, the country’s tourism Minister challenged the other local business leaders who have been successful in their own business due to the patronage of the people of Antigua and Barbuda to “do likewise”. He appealed to them to not just talk about the challenges facing Barbuda but to act in a meaningful way by contributing to the relief fund. “We must all do everything in our power to ensure that Barbuda rises again to its former glory and beauty as a jewel in our Tourism crown” said Minister Michael.

In order to assist this effort anyone wishing to immediately contribute to the relief effort can do so by sending donations to special accounts set up by the Government exclusively for the disaster relief.

Deposits locally and international bank wire transfers can be made to:

ANTIGUA COMMERCIAL BANK

Local deposits can be made to The Antigua Commercial Bank: Barbuda Relief and Rebuilding Fund: Account No. 100004717

Alternatively contributions can also be made to:

CARIBBEAN UNION BANK
Local deposits can also be made to The Caribbean Union Bank Barbuda Relief & Rebuilding Fund, Account No. 10001372

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