Browne scoffs at calls for his resignation and says only fresh elections could cause him to demit office

While blaming the Opposition for the boating incident in which West African migrants died last week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne says that calls for him to demit office will fail.

“Those who are calling for resignations, you’ll are not getting the government so easily,” a LOOP article reports Browne as saying.

Rather, fresh elections would have to be called so that the people of Antigua and Barbuda can decide, he reportedly adds

Three West Africans, reportedly Cameroon natives, died when a boat carrying 32 people capsized capsized, last Tuesday, and — exactly one week after the incident — 14 are still missing. The passengers reportedly were on an illegal journey to St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands..

The prime minister is of the opinion that the opposition parties should take responsibility for the migrants’ deaths, since his government supported the now-defunct Antigua Airways as an air link connecting the people of Africa and the Caribbean.

Ironically, after over 600 West Africans had been stranded here, it was the Browne Administration, itself, that cancelled further flights on Antigua Airways, in which it has a 20 percent stake, and reported that the airline is defunct.

Meanwhile, only days ago, Browne, himself, trashed the West Africans, saying they had embarrassed his government by rejecting the generosity extended to them and showing a preference for going to the United States.

He also admitted to wishing to “round up” the more than 600 migrants who remained in Antigua, put them on charter flights, and send them out of the country.

Despite this, Browne has resorted to blaming his opponents and is accusing them of using the tragedy to score political points.

And in his continued attempt to shirk any responsibility for the situation – which he describes as “unfortunate” – the prime minister says that “for anyone to seek to lay blame on me, or any member of my administration – clearly, they are being mischievous.”

He is accusing anyone who makes accusations of human trafficking, or who has probing questions about the Government’s involvement, of being determined to destroy Antigua and Barbuda’s international image.

However, Chairman of the United Progressive Party D. Gisele Isaac says the people, and especially the Party, will continue to ask questions and call for a public inquiry into the operations of Antigua Airways — which it had been doing even before the fatal accident.

She says the Browne Administration seems to want to do as it pleases while expecting the population to follow blindly.

Browne is threatening to take legal action against anyone who defames his character by way of allegations about the West African saga.

What is known, so far, is that 32 people, including two Antiguans, left Antigua on a 30-foot fishing boat.  Fifteen people survived the ill-fated trip.