Council to be reconstituted on Friday, while Cabinet plans to amend law governing land sale in Barbuda to include Antiguans

The formal setting up of the Barbuda Council is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 21, at which time a chairman will be elected to head the body and other members to chair the respective committees.

However, before these procedures, the four newly elected Council members will be sworn in.

The Barbuda Local Government Act provides that every January – except in an election year – the Council has to be reconstituted. Now that the General Election and the biennial Council elections have been completed, the time has come to set up the governing body.

During Friday’s meeting of the Council, MP for Barbuda Trevor Walker will chair the proceedings for the sole purpose of electing a chairman.

Following that, the election of chairs for the various Council committees will take place, according to new member John Musington.

Mussington says the Council has responsibility for administering several specific areas on the island: finance; agriculture, land and fisheries; works and general purposes; and health and welfare.

He says the persons elected as chairs will run the affairs of these subcommittees for the rest of the year.

The swearing-in of the new members of Council and its reconstitution should have taken place last Friday, April 14.  However, it had to be postponed by a week, the body said, due to circumstances beyond its control.

Meanwhile, with this new set of Council members, the Gaston Browne Administration can expect resistance to its decision to allow Antiguans to purchase lands in Barbuda.

According to this week’s Cabinet Notes, the Cabinet held discussions on a further amendment to the Barbuda Land (Amendment) Act, 2018.

The Executive reportedly was “persuaded by a paper emanating from the Ministry of Legal Affairs that the provision limiting the purchase of land in Barbuda to a category of citizens called ‘Barbudans’ is unconstitutional.”

As a result, that portion of the law will be repealed, and the portion addressing the sale of land in Antigua and Barbuda will make reference to “citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.”