Barbudans who are agitating and anxious to return to their homes are being cautioned not to do so without first seeking the relevant permission.
The island has been declared uninhabitable with 95 per cent being destroyed following the passage of Hurricane Irma a week ago.
Residents were evacuated to Antigua by the Government in accordance with the May 21, 1957 Emergency Powers Hurricane Earthquake Fire and Floods Act.
That order still remains in effect, and it has not been revealed when it will be lifted to allow Barbudans to travel freely to and from the island.
Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said persons who make their way back to Barbuda without permission can be fined or jailed.
“I want to put all persons on notice that once the evacuation order remains in force you are not to go back to Codrington, except by permission.
“If you do so the order makes special provision . . . any person who contravenes this order by word or by deed commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment to a term not exceeding six months,” he told the Parliament.
The Legal Affairs Minister said, however, that the government nonetheless is encouraging persons to go back to Barbuda to protect their property “as they see fit, but do so under the strict compliance and guidance of the police, because the police are there now, they will be there then together with the military to safeguard people’s property whilst they are not there.”