UK expats in Caribbean angry at slow British government response

Published:  8 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, UK, Jobs, England
Two British Overseas Territories have been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, with a third lying right its path.

Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands archipelago have already felt the destructive force of one of the worst hurricanes in modern times. The devastating storm is now roaring down on the low-lying Turks and Caicos island group and shows no signs of weakening. Next in its path will be the Bahamas group. British expats are scattered across all the island groups, with many now facing the loss of their homes, jobs and businesses.

Anger is growing amongst the expat community at the slow response of the British government to the damage and deprivation caused over the past few days, especially as two more giant storms have formed and are following in Irma’s footsteps. On the now independent islands of Barbuda and Antigua around 60 per cent of the populations are homeless, with the former UK-EU spokesperson for Anguilla’s government severely criticising Britain’s tardy response to the tragedy.

Dorothea Hodge is rightly unrelenting in her criticism, describing the extent of the destruction and pointing out Anguillans are as much British nationals as those on Gibraltar and in the Falklands. She compares France’s swift response with the seemingly uncaring treatment the island is getting from the British parliament, calling Theresa May’s reaction ‘absolutely pathetic’. Anguillan lawyer Josephine Gumbs-Connor told BBC radio the UK’s response was ‘sorely lacking’, adding the hurricane’s strength was unbelievable, leaving the island looking as if a nuclear bomb had exploded.

Current UK-EU representative Blondell Cluff took the matter further, saying the UK’s obvious lack of concern was likely to ‘blow the lid off’ the relationship between Britain’s overseas territories and the parent country. She condemned the meanness of the £12 million committed for reconstruction, saying the island now lacks a working airport, hospital and port as well as power, running water and habitable homes for the majority of its residents.
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