Fellow Guests and Friends of Coco Point Lodge:
As promised, we want to keep you in the loop regarding progress on Barbuda and the information we have gathered since Irma. A few weeks ago, a board member, Kemper Pierce, traveled to Antigua to meet with Coco Point employees, Barbudans, the Barbuda Council and the Prime Minister.
He also had the opportunity to go over to Barbuda and see firsthand the damage to both Codrington and Coco Point Lodge. Here is where things stand to date:
Current Coco Point Fund Initiatives
Distribution of EC$1350($500US) to all ~90 Coco Point Lodge employees, particularly in light of their A&B Red Cross support running out on Dec. 15th.
Enrollment of ~80 Barbudan children living in shelters in soccer and swimming programs on Antigua, providing a structured way for displaced children to interact and play with other Barbudans – in conjunction with Waitt Institute
Sourcing badly needed building materials (corrugated, lumber, block) for delivery to Barbuda for home rebuilding
Commitment to rebuilding either Holy Trinity School or the Hanna Thomas Hospital; based on where the government deems our help most needed
We now believe there may be an even bigger joint effort with similar organizations, including the Mill Reef Endowment Fund and Jumby Bay Fund. We have connected with them and will have more information on our cooperation in the future
We are coordinating with other endowments and aid organizations as well, including the Red Cross, Robert DeNiro and Blue Halo to facilitate rebuilding in a coordinated and productive way
The Board maintains regular contact with Lodge staff members, Ray and Denise Doherty and each other
Status of Codrington & Rebuilding Efforts
Cleanup and fumigating of the island is ongoing, with most roads in Codrington currently clear
An infirmary is functioning on island, with support from the
Canadian Red Cross and other agencies
The Antigua Barbuda Utility Authority (APUA) is working to bring electricity back online; water is returning for those connected to the public grid; Digicell service came partially online this week
Lincoln Burton’s market is open and local civic organization “The Block Club”, of which many staff are members, has been providing meals to relief workers during cleanups
Barbudans have begun returning to the Island in small numbers and many continue to make trips to clean and rebuild, most indicate a strong desire to return though schools and jobs remain a long-term necessity for large-scale repatriation
This article in the LA Times effectively frames the challenges Barbudans face in returning home.
Coco Point Lodge
Coco Point Lodge was severely damaged with most rooms and the lodge either significantly or completely destroyed
Power, water and fuel infrastructure all seem to be in good working order although there wasn’t any insurance, so rebuilding is questionable at this time
The Fund remains very interested in the reopening of Coco Point Lodge given its importance as an economic driver for the Barbudan people and a revenue source for the local government
We have come to realize that the logistics of Barbuda’s recovery are exceptionally daunting and we continue to be 100% committed to making sure all funds go directly to the Barbudan people. The Board is working to come up with a meaningful, significant and actionable plan and as we gain a better understanding of the work ahead we will continue to solicit your feedback and support.
Once again, thank you for reaching out, showing your care and concern and giving generously to a place we all have come to love as a home away from home.
The Coco Point Fund Board