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Monday, May 15, 2006 

Barbuda Council to debate sand mining issue
Monday May 15 2006

Barbuda’s sand mining industry has been dealt a serious blow with directives from the local Environment Division calling on the Barbuda Council to immediately pull out of the Palmetto Point area.

The Council now has to seek an alternate site to mine sand.

Chairman of the Barbuda Council Randolph Beazer stated frankly that knowing the seriousness of the industry to the coffers of the Barbuda Council, “it would be a tremendous blow, absolutely tremendous.”

He told the Antigua Sun that sand mining has been responsible for more that 60 per cent of that island’s income earnings so the development is indeed a “critical moment” for the Council as far as its accounts are concerned.
The Council is treating the matter with extreme seriousness and has set aside this Wednesday for discussions and debate on the sand mining issue.

“It is a special meeting and the only item on the agenda is as it relates to the future of sand mining in Palmetto and any other designated area. The Environment Division has sent its officers here to examine the situation in Palmetto Point.”

Beazer said the Council has not yet received a copy of the report from the Environment Division but was made privy to portions of the document.

“Already the Council has set in motion a date when a definite decision will be taken as to the industry of sand mining in that particular area. We are trying to put together a small committee to go around the island to see whether or not other areas can be used when Palmetto area would close off.”

He outlined there are one or two areas where mining could be carried out but did not wish to elaborate for fear that he might be acting prematurely.

Beazer, however stated, that those areas are further from the port and the logistics and overall expenses, by the mining company, would be greatly affected. He added that the cost of the product may also be affected.

The Council will hold talks with the Ministry of Public Works, the Environmental Division, to see what compromise can be achieved in the interim, “between us finding alternate spots and finding solutions to getting other viable sources of income for the Barbuda Council; either the government would increase their subsidy or find some other way of helping Barbuda.”

He outlined that there are some tourism related opportunities in the pipeline but it would take some time to get the leases prepared. “We must find ways and means to shorten the time so that investors may not get cold feet and leave us.”

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