DeFreitas says two Cabinet ministers should be investigated following tragic drowning of West African migrants

While calls are being made for Prime Minister Gaston Browne to resign his position, another is being raised for at least two of his Cabinet ministers to be investigated in relation to the confirmed deaths of three West Africans, who apparently drowned while on their way to the United States Virgin Islands.

The United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for St. John’s City South, Franz deFreitas, is making the appeal.

Hundreds of West Africans were brought here as tourists on an inaugural flight on November 1, by way of a chartered EuroAtlantic Airways plane, and on three further flights that the Browne Administration subsequently claimed were copycats.      

The initial flight was met with pomp and ceremony, including a water-cannon salute and speeches by Minister of Tourism Charles “Max” Fernandez and Minister of Foreign Affairs Paul “Chet” Greene in the VIP lounge.

DeFreitas says Fernandez and Greene should be taken into custody for questioning about the real reasons the West Africans came to Antigua and Barbuda.

On Monday night, March 27, 30 West Africans left the Fisheries Wharf in Urlings.  Persons claim they were taken there, with their carry-on luggage, by two buses known to the villagers.

Reportedly, they were headed to  St. Thomas on a 30-foot fiberglass boat with two outboard engines.  

However, the vessel encountered difficulties due to being heavily overcrowded.  It capsized 40 miles northwest of Antigua and sank between Antigua and St. Kitts.

Only 15 persons, including two Antiguan crew, were saved.