Monday 6 July, 2020

Antigua’s Minister of Tourism arrested in the UK for alleged bribery

On Monday, October 23, 2017, Antigua’s Minister of Tourism Asot Michael was arrested coming off a British Airways flight to the UK.

At the time, Michael dismissed this as a routine interview but the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Caribbean Head in the UK Patrick Reilly is reported to have said that Michael was questioned about bribes paid for business contracts in the Caribbean country.

This follows allegations that the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne received bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Browne subsequently revealed that he arrived at an accommodation that exonerates him and that the matter is now closed.

The NCA has said that Michael was released pending further investigations.

Only last week the Prime Minister of Antigua called on Caribbean governments to nationalize in part hotels by way of what he termed  ‘entrepreneurial socialism.’

It is not clear whether Asot Michael supports this view.

It has yet to be determined whether Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism will face criminal charges.

Michael was immediately dismissed from the Cabinet by the Prime Minister without Browne been fully appraised of what transpired.

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