Lovell says ‘travesty’ of Antigua Airways needs investigation; the people want to know exactly who fooled the Administration

A “travesty.”   This is how Harold Lovell describes the allegations of migrant smuggling involving the West Africans who were brought to Antigua and Barbuda in late 2022.

Of the nearly 1,000 Africans who arrived here between November and December last year, it is believed that only a few hundred remain.  Most reportedly have moved on to other destinations, while more than a dozen are believed to have perished in an attempt to get to an American port.

For months now, there have been fruitless calls for the Gaston Browne Administration to launch a public inquiry into Antigua Airways, the carrier that initially brought the West Africans.  

However, in Parliament, recently, Browne said that Opposition members and all those calling for an inquiry will have to “talk until thy kingdom come.”

The Administration has claimed it was duped with regard to three flights from Nigeria; however, it confirms that it is, once again, in discussions with Marvelous Mike Press, the initial investor, to restart flights directly from Africa.

Accordingly, Lovell says an inquiry is needed to get to the truth of the matter.  The people want to know who fooled this Administration, whose members claim to be among the top thinkers in Antigua and Barbuda, he says.

At the beginning of the venture, the West Africans were told they would acquire a visa on arrival.  But, now, Antigua and Barbuda is imposing visa requirements on Africans wishing to travel here.

Lovell says he finds the recent measure strange; but he believes there should have been tighter border security and control measures to begin with.

Lovell, the former political leader of the United Progressive Party, is reiterating the Party’s position: that the call for a public inquiry has nothing to do with the West Africans personally; nor are they being discriminated against.

What is of concern, he explains, is the manner in which this venture was approached, which is suspect, and so the call for answers is very valid.