Bench warrants issued for Barbudans who failed to appear at Court; matter adjourned to Thursday to accommodate lawyer

A bench warrant was issued for a number of Barbudans who failed to show up to court for their trespassing case on Tuesday, September 27.

The District C Court is currently sitting on the sister island and is being presided over by Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh.

Reports are that about 12 of the 22 accused showed up on Tuesday and were told to return on Thursday, September 29, while warrants were issued for those who failed to show up. 

However, the matter could not have proceeded, since the defence attorney, Leon “Chaku” Symister, was not present for the hearing.

Reportedly Symister missed his flight to Barbuda and will be there for the adjourned date on Thursday.

At least two Barbuda Council members are among the almost two dozen people who were arrested and charged in September 2020, allegedly for trespassing on the worksite of the Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH) development.

Devon Warner, the Councilman in charge of agriculture, is facing charges of resisting arrest and trespassing, while Council Secretary Paul Nedd has been charged for obstruction, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Both men face an additional charge for breaching the country’s COVID-19 face-mask protocol.

Another accused, Alexander Garvey, a Council worker, has been charged for obstruction and resisting arrest.

Reports are that the Council members, workers and other individuals were attempting to access the beach to inspect work that was underway. However, they were met with resistance from PLH workers.  

Since the major development commenced in 2018, it has been steeped in controversy, with Barbudans claiming it is destroying natural resources, including the Barbuda Lagoon, a breeding ground for fish and other sea creatures.