Euletta Francis, the chief executive officer of the Antigua and
Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA), has tendered her resignation
from the position with immediate effect.
Francis’ decision follows public comments made by Prime Minister
Gaston Browne, who accused her, among other insults, of being rude
and disrespectful and who questioned her capacity to hold the post
she has occupied for four years.
In a November 13 letter to ABAA board chairman Rolston Potter,
Francis outlines two instances in which she and PM Browne had
run-ins – on November 9 and November 10, respectively.
In the first incident, Francis claims, Browne berated her in the
presence of an airline executive for not holding discussions with him
within two days, after she had told the man – a former business
colleague of the prime minister – that he had to wait two weeks.
At the time, she explains, she was wrapping up negotiations on a
US$100 million loan deal for the airport – a reason Browne
reportedly refused to accept.
The second incident involved the Peace Love and Happiness (PLH)
group and a conflicting update on the airport project on Barbuda.
Francis alleges that the prime minster was getting his “facts” from
the PLH consultants and not from the body legally empowered to
make provisions for the ownership, control, management and
development of airports in Antigua and Barbuda.
In refuting the prime minister’s version of this incident, in which he
claims she raised her voice at him, Francis says that Browne not only
raised his voice at her, but referred to her as a “girl” – telling her to
go home, since he was fed up of her, and calling her an
These insults apparently were hurled in the presence of other
The encounter reportedly ended with a directive to Francis, by
Browne, to have the new airport on the sister-island opened by
December, “since PLH had lots of people needing to fly into
Francis states that she considers herself a dedicated public servant
and a professional who has been employed with ABAA for the past
Her resignation letter captures some of the accomplishments of her
tenure, including the development of a Capex plan; COVID-19
management; successful home-porting initiatives; and financial
performance that has enabled the Airport Authority to borrow
US$100 million – despite the absence of a chief financial officer for
the past year.
Speaking specifically to Browne’s other radio comments about her
on Saturday, November 11, Francis describes them as “a tirade of
half truths and untruths in an unbridled attempt to assassinate my
personal character and professional reputation.”
She considers the prime minister’s remarks a bully tactic that was
intended to intimidate her as a public servant. And she finds this
public attack by the head of the government most offensive,
inappropriate, and unacceptable.
Given the current circumstances, Francis says, she feels constrained
to tender her resignation. However, she informs Potter, as “a faithful
national of Antigua and Barbuda,” she reserves all her legal rights.