Prime Minister Browne Donates Thousands to Relief Effort
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has personally donated US$37,000 toward the Barbuda hurricane recovery effort, while Tourism and Energy Minister Asot Michael made a donation in the amount of US$200,000.
Browne announced the news of his financial aid while addressing parliament, saying that he made his donation in the name of his family. Asot Michael made his donation in his mother’s name.
The assistance will be warmly received after Hurricane Irma pummeled the island amounting to roughly US$100 million in damages and an estimated US$200 million in reconstruction, and the death of a child.
Registered as a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 185 mph and heavy rain, Irma destroyed over 90 percent of the island, according to Browne.
The prime minister has encouraged business owners and the international community to contribute to the rebuilding of Barbuda.
“We are dutiful citizens in our beloved land of Antigua and Barbuda, our homeland for well over a century,” Micheal said, explaining that his family arrived on the Caribbean island after being rejected from Ellis Island in the United States nearly 140 years ago.
Following suit, the Calvine Ayre Foundation has pledged to donate thousands to the Barbuda relief effort in addition to Calvine Ayre’s own personal contribution, according to Carribean News Now.
Around 1,800 Barbudans were evacuated from Barbuda after Hurricane Irma devastated the island.
Browne said they have already activated funding from the Caribbean Catastrophic Insurance fund and are expected to receive US$7 million from it.
He has asked that they advance US$3 million from the fund immediately. Browne said Monday he wants to raise US$10 million in seven days to charter a ship to bring the equipment needed to begin repairs to Barbuda’s electrical grid as soon as possible.