Hurricane Update

Dear 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.

Best wishes,

The Coco Point Fund Board

Hurricane Irma Update

Dear Guests and Friends of Coco Point Lodge and Barbuda:

The outpouring of care and concern has been, in a word, incredible. As members of the Coco Point Fund Board (CPF) we think it is important to keep you updated on the information we know and decisions that are being made.

As many of you know, immediately following Hurricane Irma, we sent out a solicitation letter with a number of ways in which people could contribute, including a link. We have heard from many people who would like to help the people of Barbuda. As stewards of the Fund we want you to know that our commitment remains strong. We have commitments through 2017 for scholarships we have granted, and they have already been paid in full. There are remaining 2018 and 2019 scholarships which we hope to continue to fund from past donations.

We have been in contact with Denise, Ray and Patrick. We understand that all Barbudans are on Antigua, are being housed and well cared for, and as of today all Barbudan children are being registered in Antiguan schools. This was encouraging to hear, and we are happy to share this news with you. It was also relayed to us that this meant there isn’t an immediate need for emergency funding from the Fund. However, the Board discussed the desire to honor our wish, as well as the wishes of many others, to reach out and show the Coco Point staff and families that we are all here for them, to show our care and desire to help. We want to do what is best and most helpful. To that end we are continuing conversations with Denise and Ray, who are in touch with most of the employees, and understand the situation and the needs. Once we have a clear understanding of the best way to move forward providing funds in a responsible way we will do so.

To date the amount received by the Irma Relief Fund is approximately
$85,000. We encourage you to continue to be as generous as possible, knowing that although immediate needs are being met by outside groups, there are substantial mid and long term needs that we can address. The Funds’ priorities are first and foremost the employees of Coco Point Lodge, followed by our scholarship program and assistance for the local Codrington schools and hospital. The CPF board has agreed that your contributions to the Irma Relief Fund will only be used to meet these priorities and not for other purposes, such as rebuilding Coco Point Lodge.

Once again, thank you for all your care and concern…it truly makes a world of difference.

The Coco Point Fund Board

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