Thinking Out Loud

September 7, 2017

Special Report: Barbuda

 

Map makers, amateur and professional alike, disagree as to what is included as part of the Leeward Islands. This map traces back to Pinterest, but wasn’t properly sourced.

As we prepare this, images are just starting to come from Barbuda which are similar to this CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) image of Sint Maarten (the name of the country on the island of Saint Martin) showing damage there. (Click to link.)

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we’ve learned that up to 95% of the structures on the island of Barbuda have been damaged; but many of us weren’t aware of this island at all until these reports surfaced.

We checked Wikipedia*:

Barbuda (/bɑːrˈbjuːdə/) is an island in the Eastern Caribbean, and forms part of the state of Antigua and Barbuda, which in turn consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands — we counted 46 in the list — including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda. The larger state has a population of 81,800, out of which Barbuda has a population of about 1,638 (at the 2011 Census), most of whom live in the town of Codrington, which is the 10th largest town overall.

You’ve also heard references to The Leeward Islands, which describes the whole region. In English, the term refers to the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. The more southerly part of the Lesser Antilles chain is called the Windward Islands.

Barbuda alone consists of four (or five) islands and in more normal years, generally experience low humidity and recurrent droughts. The country is a unitary, parliamentary, representative democratic monarchy, in which the Head of State is the Monarch who appoints the Governor General as vice-regal representative. Elizabeth II is the present Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, having served in that position since the islands’ independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The Queen is represented by a Governor General.

The populace consists of people of West African, British, and Madeiran descent. The ethnic distribution consists of 91% Black & Mulatto, 4.4% mixed race, 1.7% White, and 2.9% other (primarily East Indian and Asian). Most Whites are of Irish or British descent. Christian Levantine Arabs, and a small number of Asians and Sephardic Jews make up the remainder of the population.

Islands of Barbuda (WorldAtlas.com; click to link)

An increasingly large percentage of the population lives abroad, most notably in the United Kingdom (Antiguan Britons), United States and Canada. A minority of Antiguan residents are immigrants from other countries, particularly from Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica, and, increasing, from the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Nigeria. English is the official language. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan. About 10,000 people speak Spanish. There is a greater than 90% literacy rate. In 1998, Antigua and Barbuda adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent provider of medical services in the Caribbean.

Of special interest to readers here is religion, with a majority of 77% of Antiguans being Christians; Anglicans (17,6%) being the largest single denomination. Other Christian denominations present are Seventh-day Adventist Church (12,4%), Pentecostalism (12,2%), Moravian Church (8,3%), Roman Catholics (8,2%), Methodist Church (5,6%), Wesleyan Holiness Church (4,5%), Church of God (4,1%), Baptists (3,6%) and Mormons (<1,0%). Non-Christian religions practised in the islands include the Rastafari, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahá’í Faith.

With the devastation witnessed after the hurricane, The Los Angeles Times headlined an article, “Once there was an island known as Barbuda. After Hurricane Irma, much of it is gone.” The Prime Minister is quoted as saying, “…on a per capita basis, the extent of the destruction on Barbuda is unprecedented.” 

There are currently three hurricanes in the region including Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Jose.


*We are grateful to Wikipedia, without which we could not bring this report to you as quickly, importing and patching together large sections from the pages linked below. Click on the following pages to learn more:

 

 

 

 

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January 14, 2010

Haiti – The Pictures

Presidential Palace before and after the quake from i.Telegraph.co.uk

It’s hard to get enthusiastic today about blogging when the world has just witnessed one of the saddest catastrophes we’ve seen in a long time.

Of the various media online, Boston’s Big Picture website probably brings the story into most vivid focus.   There are about 40 full-screen photos here, all taken within hours of the earthquake.

Boston.com – The Big Picture – Haiti Earthquake Devastation.

I was going to choose one of the pictures to include in this blog post, but I decided that I really want you to click the link.   However [update Friday morning] I decided to show this picture of contrasts — from a different source — before and after at the Presidential Palace, the one building in the country you would think would be the most fortified.


Coincidentally, I was going to link to another Big Picture picture yesterday, but the directions for finding the picture — the 37th in a longer collection — were a little too complex for the link list.  Without taking away from the Haiti story, I want to share it today.

This picture connects to me and to this Christian blog as it relates to John 8; the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, or Acts 8, the stoning of Stephen.   I had never thought about the fact that in a similar situation, most of us might try to raise our hands to deflect the rocks, so in this picture of a Muslim man being stoned for committing adultery — though not stated, the caption says “illicit sexual intercourse” — he is buried halfway in the dirt to stop him from doing anything to protect himself.   The picture shows his lifeless body being removed afterward.

I think for me, this changes my whole future perspective when I hear someone talking about someone being stoned.   As I watched this I thought about the New Testament phrase, “They took up stones…” in reference to Jesus.    Justice of this type was carried out quickly, and the only preparation required was that of finding rocks the right size.

Boston.com – The Big Picture – Best of 2009 (Part 3) SCROLL TO PICTURE #37 and click the link to view it.

I also thought it was interesting that this picture was only one of a couple in the whole series (all three parts) that was considered too graphic.   Boston.com seems to feel some sensitivity toward pictures of dead people, yet the media in general has no problem sharing with us the faces of grief.

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