Antigua PM writes Barbados PM about incorrect COVID classification


Please see belowa letter sent today to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley from Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, drawing to her attention the wrongful classification of Antigua and Barbuda by Barbados as a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction for COVID-19.   Prime Minister Browne recalls the CARPHA standard to which all CARICOM Heads of Government agreed of 20 active cases per population of 100,000 as presenting a high risk.

In Antigua and Barbuda’s case, it has only 4 active cases, meriting a classification no higher than “low risk”.    Prime Minister Browne reminds that Barbados has recently been classified by the European Union as a ‘high risk” jurisdiction for money laundering to which Barbados protested.  Antigua and Barbuda had supported Barbados against the EU arbitrary classification of Barbados.   He calls on Prime Minister Mottley in the interest of fairness right and the facts, to intervene so that the correct classification of Antigua and Barbuda as ‘low risk’ is implemented by the Barbados authorities.


Office of the Prime Minister 

Queen Elizabeth Highway

St John’s

Antigua and Barbuda

Tel. (268) 460-5100

[email protected]

November 12, 2020

Honourable Mia Mottley M.P.

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister




Dear Prime Minister

I present my compliments and bring to your attention a matter which may have escaped your personal awareness amid the heavy and pressing work schedule that, as a fellow Head of Government, I fully appreciate you face.

The matter concerns the current unwarranted classification of Antigua and Barbuda as a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction for COVID-19 by the authorities in Barbados.  This current classification is an amendment from a previous even more underserved designation of ‘high risk’.  The amendment took place after alarm was raised by Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Minister.

Our two countries have suffered when other countries and regions have unilaterally applied classifications to them.  Most recently, the arbitrary classification of Barbados by the European Union as a “high-risk” country regarding anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing, was rightly protested by you and your government.  My government and I, personally, raised our voices in support of Barbados to decry this arbitrary action.

You will understand, therefore, my Government’s deep concern about Barbados’ classification of Antigua and Barbuda as ‘high risk’ or ‘medium risk’, when the facts tell a quite different story.  You will further appreciate our disquiet when Barbados departs from the position taken by CARICOM Heads of Government to apply the CARPHA standard of 20 active cases for a population of 100,000.  In Antigua and Barbuda’s case, we have only 4 infected persons, well below the threshold set by CARPHA.

In today’s interconnected world, this unilateral classification of Antigua and Barbuda by Barbados receives international attention.  It has led to anxiety in our struggling tourism industry and has adversely affected the employment and wellbeing of our people.

In the circumstances, I am confident that, based on your commitment to fairness and right, and to the facts, you will intervene personally to ensure that the regional standard, established by CARPHA, and agreed by Heads of Government, is applied by the Barbados authorities to Antigua and Barbuda, placing the country in the ‘low risk’ category it merits.

I look forward to an early and favourable response from you.

Kind regards

Gaston Browne M.P. 

Prime Minister

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  1. Gaston thinks Barbados PM will believe his lies? What a joke. At least they keeping their people safe in Bim.

  2. This stupid letter until the numbers were fudged down to 4 active cases

    Leave this PM alone. She’s protecting her people. Antigua should do the same

  3. I’m a Bajan man married to a beautiful Antiguan woman, and I have followed how both countries have been dealing with this terrible pandemic;and there is no way that Antigua should be classified as a ‘high or medium risk’ classification by the honourable Prime Minister Mottley and her government.

    Antigua’s handling of Covid – 19 has been better than most other countries dotted around the globe.

    As an outsider looking in (having a link/foot in both camps), it seems to me that there’s a lot more going on in the background that we mere mortals don’t know about – Is it possible there is some sort of fall out due to the recent shenanigans with LIAT? Or any other issues between the two islands?

    I don’t know, but what I do know is that the actions/classifications made by Mia Mottley seems very harsh and disproportionate, especially when CARPHA has placed Antigua as a ‘low risk’ category in recent times.

    Mottley & Browne are two headstrong leaders, but surely on this important matter they can agree for the greater good of both countries.

    • They have let in THOUSANDS of tourists from high COVID regions every month and they don’t test or quarantine those people.

      A significant percentage of American tourists are Trump supporters who do not take the pandemic seriously and resist wearing masks whenever they can. Reportedly, they do not wear masks in many of the resorts where they are exposing staff to the disease.

      And then the staff goes back to their communities and exposes everyone else.

      Not doing community testing and not testing tourists are not examples of competent pandemic manage.

      Yes, they’ve kept the official numbers low by not testing but that doesnt make this disease go away.

      Open your eyes.

      Thank god for the Barbados PM keeping her people safe.

      • The almost 4 thousand persons tested, most don’t live in ANU hence the community? The guests who come to BDS and stay at hotel, are isolated from staff before the 2nd optional test? Looking at their recent (Nov 11)covid reports you will see test results coming back as late as 10 days after arrival to BDS:
        “The new cases identified in results released today by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory are a 43-year-old man who arrived from Jamaica on Caribbean Airlines on November 1; two women, 41 and 18, who arrived on British Airways on November 5; a 29-year-old woman who arrived on British Airways on November 3; and a 25-year-old man who came in on American Airlines on November 8.”

        There is limited contact, based on ANU protocols, between staff and guests The hotel staff wear PPE, and must adhere to the safety protocols. The CDC makes clear:

        “Wearing a mask protects the wearer, and not just other people, from the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized in an updated scientific brief issued Tuesday. And the protective benefits of masks are stronger the more people wear masks consistently and correctly, the agency says…In a report updated Tuesday, the CDC says that is still the primary intention of wearing masks. But it also cites growing evidence that even cloth masks can also reduce the amount of infectious droplets inhaled by the wearer.” see Wear Masks To Protect Yourself From The Coronavirus, Not Only Others, CDC Stresses
        November 11, 20203:25 PM ET NPR

        • Guests are isolated from staff before optional 2nd test LOL

          First of all there is no 1st test. All they need to do is present a letter or certificate saying they had a negative test within SEVEN days of flying. That is too much time to be meaningful and as PM Clown acknowledged many are forging certificates.

          Secondly, what if they decline the optional test at the resort? Who is serving them? Who is cleaning their room? Who is catering to their needs?

          Stop with the lies. These tourists are allowed to rent cars and go wherever they please on the island without being tested or quarantined.

          As for community testing, you act like it’s a good thing not to sample the community so we really know how much COVID is out there. That’s what sane countries are doing.

          So Antigua has tested much less than 4% of the population that their 3000 or so tests show because many tests are repeat tests or are tests performed on non residents.

          When you consider about a 90K population plus 8k tourists a month since June maybe Antigua has tested 1 or 2% of its population. That’s pitiful.

          You’re lucky Mottley has you all classified as medium risk given the mismanagement going on in Antigua.

          And this is not even to mention the discriminatory and racist policies which treat Nationals like 2nd class citizens in their own country.

          • Guy the reference was BDS so why at first extoll them as a good example and then change your mind. Again by the time most get back the result from their second covid test, they are no longer in BDS. This is part of the reason why ANU never implemented such a measure, it requires resources we nor BDS have.

            Not sure how via the test result reports providing info like age, country and such will help the general public. It can have some use for policy makers and researchers hence why the CMO provides these figures periodically. Recall her providing them a few weeks ago. The info can be found in the clip on the ministry of health Facebook page.

            In terms of tourists being allowed to go where they wish, why are the tour groups here complaining? They point out what you claim is a lie since due to covid the hotels are now preventing the guests from taking outside tours via external companies. Anyway the law in place makes clear that masks must be work in public spaces especially when persons can’t social distance. Dr Lester Simon will tell you, tests won’t save you from covid, observing the precools will?.Doubt it? Ask former Prez Trump how he got Covid yet he was tested daily

        • @wiseup is you can specifically cite who tested positive in Barbados and where they were coming from etc…

          Because the Barbados government releases that information like every other sane country

          And yet we have no information about what is going on in Antigua.

          Because Antigua is hiding information and lying and mismanaging pandemic to keep tourists dollars flowing

          EVERYONE sees it.

          • Yet CARPHA, the Canadian government, the Indian government , the tourists who come here, have congratulated the government on its management of covid. The tourists prove their faith by spending their $ to come to a place they will tell you, that’s much safer than where they are leaving. The BDS government will shortly move us back to the low risk category. Seems you forget that though misguided persons like you were saying contrary BDS had A&B in its travel bubble (very low risk category) see (The CARICOM Travel Bubble Has Started BY CATHY LASHLEY | SEP 22, 2020 ). Guy no doubt the vulture in you will say nothing when BDS, by end of month, moves us back to low risk

  4. Bajans do not have to come to Antigua. However,Antiguans must go to Barbados.In this instance Barbados holds the Ace of Spades.She has you Gaston.Right where she would want you to be.That is why in positions of leadership.It is a give and take world.Using honey sometimes would be nice.

    • That means testing in the community.

      That means testing tourists from high COVID regions and quarantining those folks for at least a couple of days to make sure they have at least 2 negative tests.

      That means putting people’s lives above $$$, above pleasing his wealthy benefactors on this island.

      The truth is this country could have kept the borders closed to short-term tourists and let in people willing to be tested and quarantined. Borrowed money to give stimulus to the poor people here. And wait for a safe vaccine to become available and/or effective treatment for this virus to be discovered.

      If they would have done that we all could go about our normal lives without masks, without fear as they are doing in New Zealand

      • “Cabinet is set to consider making mask wearing compulsory on public transport in the Auckland region and on all domestic flights when it meets on Monday.

        Until then, public transport users in Auckland are being asked to wear masks. The request comes after a woman who lives and works in the central city tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.

        Minister of Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins told a briefing on Friday he would be taking a public health order to Cabinet on Monday to ask for face coverings to become mandatory on public transport in Auckland and on flights anywhere in New Zealand. see Covid-19: Mandatory mask wearing planned for Auckland public transport – other areas to be considered
        15:39, Nov 13 2020

  5. When a man stand up for his country you would think the whole country would be behind him. Not in Antigua. So much hatred in politics that they cannot even put that aside in the interest of the country they claim to love so much. As Onion sings, Stand Up for who you are, stand up for Antigua.

    • By putting the health of its citizens over the wishes of tourists and over the wants of the resort owners

      Not treating Nationals like 2nd class citizens and risking lives for tourist $$$

      He’d do will to watch the real leaders of the Caribbean like MM and learn something

  6. Unbelievable! That such a high level of partisan ignorance exists in Antigua and Barbuda today is simply unbelievable. The one reassuring note however, is the fact that this intellectually starved bunch are merely faithful adherents of an identifiable gang of anti-government critics with one sole purpose – to expose their own mental deficiencies through skewed appraisals of Government’s policies and actions. Very little, if anything, of value constitutes the diatribe they spew on a daily basis. Unbelievable!

    • Believe it or not. They exist. And that is why we need to keep putting them straight. And when next election comes around give them another licking in their tail. Whaps.

  7. Political Diatribes and tribalism should not take hold in everything by those Wiseacres haters of GB. Certainly, trying to make score cheap Political points don’t make it correct and right for the decision undertook by Barbados. The decision cannot be based on agreement’s by the head’s of Caricom. It must be something else. Lack of trust by our leaders doesn’t board well to Caribbean integration. GB is absolutely correct in writing to his counterpart in seeking clarification on Barbados decision. That’s what’s good leader do. By the way Wadadli PM is the most visionary, forthright and strident Caribbean Leader at present.

    • According to Lovell he needs to approach this more diplomatic. He needs to call Mia and not write her and don’t bring this in the public. Keep it hush. That is transparency for Lovell. Do things in secret. While Gston is an open book. If it cannot see the light he doesn’t want to be part of it. Unless it is in the national security interest. And then Lovell want to leave it up to the CMO to discuss with her BDS counterpart. Now that is what he calls leadership. Leading from behind. Not Gaston he leads from upfront. Always. No wonder Lovell always denies it when things go wrong under his leadership and is quickly to throw others under the bus.
      Leadership matter. Lovell is not a leader. He talks about leadership but he does not lead. There is always a consultation to be held. But the thing is after consultation someone still has to take the decision. And be accountable for it.

  8. It was amazingly sad to hear Dr. Thwaites on ABS the other day agreeing with Barbados that we should be in high risk category. Cause according to him we are not doing enough testing and therefore whatever we put out as cases of Covid 19 could be much more. Strange enough he does accept the number that he USA is putting out when they themself say that they are not testing and contact tracing enough. Most are cases that have shown symptoms. I guess if persons with Covid-19 in Antigua do not show symptoms we must assume that they are OK. Asymptomatic as they call it. In that case what is enough testing. 1 in 10 or higher. With the scarce resources that we have we would do better utilizing them wisely. Testing is not cheap. But anyone that wants to know their status can pay to get it. And a negative test today doesn’t mean a negative test forever. So when is testing enough Dr. Thwaites. Testing everyone everyday?

  9. FROM THE SIDELINE it is not about secret or transparency. Certain inter-governmental matters are handled behind closed doors. It is called diplomacy. When talks break down then perhaps public announcements would be made. That was exactly the reason why Mia Mottley told Gaston Browne when Antigua and Barbuda was trying to buy Barbados’ share in LIAT that she does not negotiate in public. I keep asking you why is it so difficult for you to understand simple concepts. I think your problem is your blind allegiance to every and anything Gaston Browne says or does. Although I am not into religion, however, I am sure if Gaston says that God does not exist you would say he is absolutely correct. Please wake up FROM THE SIDELINE.

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