UPP to plan ‘Black March’ to intensify call for inquiry and to pay respects to deceased West Africans

The United Progressive Party (UPP) plans to lead another march to press the Governor-General to launch a public inquiry into the Antigua Airways/West-African migrants debacle – given the recent misfortune in which a number of these visitors died at sea.

For months, the Party has been calling for a public inquiry into the matter, but Sir Rodney Williams has declined to convene such an investigation.

This has caused residents to believe that Prime Minister Gaston Browne has something to hide, since he is on record as saying the Governor-General could make no such move without his permission.

And while two international agencies have been invited to inquire into the migrants’ situation, sources say their scope of investigation is limited and cannot get to the bottom of the airline/migrants scandal as an inquiry would.

Accordingly, UPP Public Relations Officer Damani Tabor says that a “Black March” is under consideration.  

This will allow the Party to continue pressing for a commission of inquiry while simultaneously paying its respects to those who died, or were lost, last Tuesday, March 28, during what has been described as an illegal operation to smuggle West Africans onto American soil.

Further, Tabor says the UPP will be writing to several international agencies, including Amnesty International, in order to get some accountability on the matter – which the Administration is currently refusing to accept.

The Browne Administration has stated that it is not responsible for the fatal incident involving the West Africans, whom the prime minister accused of being ungrateful for the country’s generosity.

However, Tabor says the UPP will continue to do all it can to ensure that justice is served in this matter and that Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation is not further tarnished.

He notes that this incident could have far-reaching repercussions, including affecting  Antiguans’ and Barbudans’ unhindered travel to other countries with visa restrictions.

According to Tabor, with this incident hanging over our heads, the likelihood of reclaiming visa-free access to Canada is fading.