Even if all the West Africans leave, Symister says more questions than answers remain, and an inquiry is still needed
Attorney-at-law Leon Chaku Symister is disagreeing with the sentiments of those residents who say an inquiry into the Antigua Airways/migrant-smuggling saga is not warranted, since most of the West Africans have left – or are planning to leave Antigua and Barbuda.
But even if all the Africans were to leave our shores, Symister says their departure would not clear the country’s name, since it has been accused of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
There are also allegations, he adds, that Antigua and Barbuda is being used as a transshipment point for persons trying to reach the United States via the Mexican border.
Symister says there are more questions than answers in this saga, and the people of this country need to know the truth.
For six months, Symister recalls, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Nation that it had a 20 percent stake in the Nigeria-based Antigua Airways, and that it had contributed 10 Citizenship by Investment Programme files as its investment in the venture.
However, Browne then declared that the airline was practically defunct and that the CIP files had never been turned over.
With all these changing stories – including the Administration’s confession that it had been duped – the attorney says there is certainly the need for an inquiry into the whole sordid affair.
Meanwhile, Symister says he has factual information that some of the West Africans who arrived here in November and December 2022, on the now-infamous flights, are now in the United States and seeking to be legalized.
Having dealt with some of them personally, he says, he has had contact with a few who reported that they had reached the United States.