George Wehner, Mobilization Officer of the United Progressive Party (UPP), is expressing some alarm that almost a dozen visitors were allowed to leave the V.C. Bird International Airport without being properly landed on Wednesday, February 16.
Wehner, who broke the news on the Morning Bush Tea Show today, February 17, says the private plane on which the visitors arrived landed after 4 p.m.
However, instead of the 11 passengers – reportedly Mideastern citizens – making their way to Immigration and Customs for the requisite checks, Wehner alleges that they were escorted from the premises by police officers.
He says he finds the absence of standard procedures curious.
The Department of Immigration is the authorizing agency tasked with landing persons into the country.
Accordingly, Wehner says that Customs and Immigration officials reportedly were up in arms over this situation, given that these individuals were allowed to bypass the security process.
What is interesting, he adds, is that the visitors, who might have been diplomats, were not taken through the Diplomatic Lounge, either.
According to Wehner, his sources allege that the directive to take the men from the airport came from the Prime Minister, himself.
Meanwhile, he is concerned that the visitors could have brought contraband items into the country.
The UPP Mobilization Officer says the Party is paying very keen attention to incidents such as these, especially during an election year.
He says the Antigua Labour Party might want to steal the election, and therefore could facilitate persons bringing in money to go towards its campaign.