The Barbuda Council said it will not agree to make changes to the Barbuda Local Government Act that may cause it to lose control over sand mining and the subleasing of land.
“It clearly states that if you are going to change the Barbuda Local Government Act, the Barbuda Council must have a say in it. The Barbuda Council must pass a resolution in a council meeting to say yes, make changes to it, and that is not going to happen by this council, so that is not something that I’m really worried about,” Barbuda Council chairperson Calsey Beazer-Joseph told OBSERVER.
The Act is enshrined in the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution – the supreme law of the land – which means changes cannot be made without majority votes from sitting council members.
However, on March 4, the Cabinet said it had sought advice from the Solicitor General and four lawyers from the Department of Legal Affairs, to bring clarity on several issues, including whether the Act could be changed without amending the Constitution in which the Act is entrenched.
In displaying its lack of trust in the Barbuda Council, the Cabinet questioned whether the central government could bring sand mining in Barbuda under the control of “a competent authority” by amending The Beach Protection Act to include the sister isle.
The Cabinet is also mulling the idea of placing leases and subleases for land on Barbuda under the Cabinet’s/Governor General’s exclusive control. It plans to take these issues to Parliament next Tuesday.