There is a change of arrival date for the Air Peace flight from Nigeria,
according to this week’s Cabinet Notes.
Initially, it was announced that the flight would arrive at the V.C.
Bird International Airport on August 5, with passengers expected to
return on August 9.
Now, the Cabinet reports that the airline – the largest private carrier
in Nigeria – is in the final stage of planning, with the flight to Antigua
expected on Friday, August 4.
The visitors apparently will enjoy a four-day excursion before
reportedly departing the island on Carnival Tuesday, August 8.
However, even though touchdown is expected in about 24 hours, the
Cabinet still cannot give the precise number of arriving passengers.
According to this week’s Notes, that number is still to be
determined; but, most likely, there will be fewer than 200 persons.
In Parliament last week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that
about 200 West Africans were expected to arrive and celebrate the
Carnival festivities. Another official, weeks before, had put the
number at about 250.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Notes say the flight will include 16 members
of the Nigerian National Dance Theatre, who will participate in
several events during Carnival.
However, with the festival winding down, there are not many events
in which the group can participate.
Some residents have already declared that they are not attending
the Panorama, Calypso Monarch, or Party Monarch competitions see
any African-culture shows.
Accordingly, it appears that the visitors will fill any gaps during the
Monday and Tuesday parades.
Strangely, the Cabinet Notes fail to mention the advertised
investment forum in which the wealthy Nigerian visitors are
expected to take part.
There is no reference to the venue, time or presenters at the
business conference that was supposed to be the main purpose for
As a consequence, critics are again referring to this Air Peace
excursion as a hoax, meant to dupe the people of Antigua and
Barbuda yet another time.
“How can the Gaston Browne Administration expect to maintain its
credibility?” an Antiguan in Washington asks REAL News. “What
type of investor can take these people seriously?
“After the fiasco of Antigua Airways, and the shame it brought us,
and the pain and death it brought the Cameroonians, is the prime
minister going to try to spin this air bridge fantasy to the people
again?” the man asks.
Here in Antigua, other persons are asking what has become of
Marvelous Mike, the investor reportedly behind the Antigua Airways
venture, and of Owalabi Elabanjo, who appeared to be the local
liaison for the more than 900 West Africans who landed here late
Meanwhile, the investigative report into the three “copycat” flights
and subsequent episodes of migrant smuggling – referred to by
Governor-General Sir Rodney Williams and supposedly undertaken
by Attorney-General Steadroy Benjamin – has never been published.