Dear Friends of The Coco Point
We want to
update you on the state of Barbuda and the work that the CPF (and others) are
doing to help rebuild the island. To date, the Coco Point Fund has spent
approximately $350,000.00 and has an additional $300,000.00 spend in the
planning stages. We never realized how complicated and difficult it would be to
do good! That being said, we are making significant progress.
Who is on the island and what they are focused on:
NODS – The Antigua and Barbuda National
Office of Disaster Services– This is the lead organization that is in
charge of the coordination of all rebuilding activities. All work done by all
of the other “public” relief organizations must go through NODS. They also
provide limited amounts of supplies and construction workers (from Antigua) for
roof rebuilding. It is important to understand that the
only work being
done by NODS and others on homes is to replace roofs or homes categorized as 1
or 2 on a categorization scale of 1 to 4.
1= minimal damage
2= more damage
but repairable 3= likely not repairable
4= totally destroyed-not repairable
NODS also restored power to a small area of Codington, but has not yet
allowed power to everyone. Likewise, there is only one source of fresh water.
Each household is only allowed 20 liters of water per day despite family size.
The water comes from a very modest desalinization device in the town center.
Perhaps more significantly, getting approval from NODS to do work is very
inefficient and takes about two to three weeks to get approval.
organization is doing very good work fixing level 1 and 2 roofs. They are
bringing in volunteer contractors from the U.S. to do this work. They utilize
supplies from others before using their own. We may explore a partnership with
them in the future.
UNDP – The United Nations Development Program
This organization is working on
Barbuda and all of the other islands destroyed by
They supply workers and materials. However, after a recent board member visit,
we found that they have run out of supplies. The UNDP also supplied tents for
many residents. The tents remain all over the island with people still living
Red Cross – Canadian and Antigua
The Red Cross has focused on getting some basic supplies for the
hospital. These supplies are functional and useful, but the hospital is nowhere
near where it needs to be. They have also distributed 500EC on a somewhat
regular basis for basic support.
We have just learned that they are about to distribute vouchers for
windows and doors. We will be sure to not give CPF’s windows and doors to those
who are receiving vouchers from the Red Cross.
undertaking various projects such as restoring fishing and lobstering,
providing food and clothing, and much more including periodically subsidizing
the ferry to and from Barbuda for the residents.
Other Private Charitable Organizations:
Fund – U.S. based
We have raised just over $1
million for support.
Jumby Bay Fund – Antigua based
They have raised about $2 million
for support in Barbuda.
Mill Reef Fund – Antigua based
They have raised about
$800,000.00 for support in Barbuda.
established excellent working relationships with both of these “equally
committed” charities. We believe CPF has one distinct advantage in that we are
U.S. based and
not “involved” in Antiguan politics. For example, both Jumby Bay and Mill Reef
offered to rebuild the primary school and they were told “No, the government
has someone else committed to this project”. However, there has been no action
taken on rebuilding the school (and potentially limited action to
come). We will continue to communicate with these great charities and see
if there are more significant projects that make sense to do together?
What We Have Done So Far:
You should know
that we have been extremely active for the last 6+ months. We hold board
meetings at least once every 2 weeks to discuss all initiatives in progress. At
first, we thought that we could just ship supplies down to the island and the
repair work would get done. However, we
realized that though the supplies were distributed, the people, for the most
part, could not afford to pay to have the work done. Eventually, the work got
done with the help of others. Just last week, we sent two large shipping
containers full of more materials; half for homes and half to rebuild the Early
Childhood Learning Center (ECLC). We have also hired the best local contractor
to do the work privately, away from NODS. One interesting fact: Our latest
shipment includes 120 windows and 100 doors. Prior to our shipment, NO windows
or doors were sent to the island. We will continue to do more projects in the
future, including possibly rebuilding the homes of several vital teachers, the
residence of the Head of Schools, and much more.
Early on, we accomplished many things. We gave $500.00 USD to every Coco
Point employee before Christmas. We also funded a soccer and swim program for
Barbudan children on Antigua, a program that continues to be very successful.
We have hired Bentham Lewis and Anne-Marie Gore to facilitate all of
these efforts and properly account for all funds.
While Jumby Bay
and Mill Reef both decided not to be in the construction business, we have
realized that the greatest need on the island is qualified contractors to do
the work. We are also exploring ideas about how to help those with category 3
and 4 homes. This has proven to be a difficult problem not just for us, but for
all relief organizations.
The Antiguan Government:
As you all
hopefully know, the Prime Minister is planning to annul the Barbuda Land Act,
effectively taking away the Barbudan peoples’ communal land ownership. At this
time, we do not know how this will all play out. What we do know is that these
people DESPERATELY need our help. As such, we will continue to send materials
and help rebuild!
“Chicken or the Egg”
question is “when and how many people will eventually come back to the island?”
Eighteen youngsters are currently in Nursery School (temporary headquarters)
and a handful of primary school and high school children are in school at the
high school (which was virtually unscathed). We believe that not everyone will
come back. But when you talk with Barbudans on Antigua that want to go back,
but cannot because there are no jobs, it truly breaks your heart.
This is the most
challenging situation that we, as a board, have ever seen. We are committed to
helping as long as we have money. In addition to helping, we are committed to
assuring you, the donors, that the Antiguan Government and Coco Point Lodge
never have access to any of our funds.
YOU SO MUCH for your contributions. Given the state
of the matter, we will eventually need more money to continue our
efforts. We hope this letter gives you a better understanding of what is being done for our Barbudan friends.
Mike Smith, acting President of CPF, at MSMITH3453@aol.com or other
board members you may know if you have any questions about our efforts.
Thanks again for
your support! Please know that the Barbudan people desperately need our help.
“DOING GOOD WORK IS NEVER
Acting President, The Coco Point Fund