Big Issues Guest Maharaj responds to Prime Minister Gaston Browne social media comments


Akaash Maharaj


Gaston Browne: Thank you for your comment Mr Browne.


It is exceedingly rare for heads governments take to social media to engage in name-calling, especially towards people who work to advance ethics and integrity in the public sphere. I am, therefore, genuinely grateful that you took the time to write your comment: it demonstrates to me, and to the people of Antigua and Barbuda, that my words have had a significant impact on you.


So often in my line of work, I worry that political actors are deaf to calls for political accountability. Given that you have clearly taken my words to heart, I can only hope that they will prompt you to reflect on the standards you are meeting and the impression you are giving the world of your country.


I will leave it to the people of Antigua and Barbuda to judge whether you have behaved appropriately in office.


For my part, I will only offer you four thoughts.


First, calling someone a “puritanical gun for hire” is a strange contradiction in terms. A “puritan” would not rent himself out as a “gun for hire”.


Second, I receive no personal benefits whatsoever from the Big Issues, Observer Media, or any individual or organisation, for participating in their programme. I do so in the hopes of making a contribution to public debate and, therefore, to advancing the public good in Antigua and Barbuda, and more broadly, to the Caribbean region at large.


Third, I do not regard it as being an insult to be called politically “puritanical”. Your use of that term suggests that in your opinion, my ethical standards are too high; I ask you, respectfully, to consider whether your opinion implies that your standards may be too low. As a head of government in a democratic state, you should be enthusiastic about embracing, embodying, and living out the very highest ethical standards. I am saddened to see that instead, you hold high ethical standards in contempt, and as cause for insult.


Fourth and finally, I appeal to you as the country’s head of government to enact stronger anti-corruption laws and to reform Antigua and Barbuda’s Integrity Commission, to make it capable of enforcing standards that would be worthy of your people.


In the past few months, Antiguans and Barbudans have been treated to the unedifying spectacle of you and your former friend and Cabinet colleague Asot Michael making the most sordid accusations and counter-accusations against one another in parliament. I am in no position to say which of you is telling the truth, but one thing is certain: if either of you is telling the truth, then the people of Antigua and Barbuda have been badly served by a legal and political system that has allowed at least one of you to act in ways that should shock the conscience of the nation.


As Prime Minister, you are in a unique position to remedy this. I hope you will do so.

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    • GASTON Browne is a total failure a total asshole. Only the idiots who are gain from his get rich scheme kiss you their dump ass. Guess all the name calling comes from his child hood delimas. Smdh

    • That’s one uneducated, stupid comment. If you don’t respect yourelf, at least respect your mother who brung you up.

      • @ Crazy Kristi : Everything damn thing comes out of your mouth is about respect and people’s Mother..
        You’re such an ass
        True definition of a dumb broad

        • Whoa, I mus have touched a nerve. Seems you might have a problem or two that need attention. The truth hurts, doesn

    • Hey “Black Hitler” wannabee: And just how do you know anything about Michael Brown “arsehole”??? You fantasizing too much. Chuups.

  1. Oh, so it is more important to report what Maharaj had to say, but not what Senior Counselor Anthony Astaphan had to say in response to that. That is very good journalism. Keep it up. And you guys want to be considered to be impartial? Give me a break. Better yet give me an aspirin.

    • Is Anthony Astaphan credible? I don’t know why he was invited to the show as he is Gaston’s lawyer. He is the one that is making big bucks from Gaston and the people of Antigua. He will most likely defend Gaston in any future lawsuits. What do you expect from him but a lot of double speak which is exactly what he did.

      • Are you questioning the integrity of a renowned successful Legal Luminary vs. that of a political commentator? Give me a break.

        • Lawyers are lawyers. What do a lot of them do but spin half truths to defend their clients. He did so much spinning, I wonder if he didn’t feel dizzy. I would listen to his cousin any-day over him. He doesn’t look too well, I hope he is ok.

          • So confused are you. You cannot spin your way out in a court of law. You have to defend cases with a legal argument. The Judges and or jury have to judge cases based on law. Spinning is a thing for politicians. And Astaphan pointed out to the gentleman that no law was broken and no policy either. He still wants to talk about the perception of the public. A PM cannot go by what people perceive. He has to go by law. That is what he swears an oath to. If not, he can be charged for misbehaving in public office.

      • @ JACKIE
        Jackie { LONE WOLF FOR UPP} …Are you working the poles in WILMOTH DANIEL BUS ? A little bird told me so.

  2. Woieee…love love love the lyrics
    Yep the laws are really really leaky, so the upp ppl got off free with three buses and the integrity commission plays such an unimportant role in public life that no one can tell me what has become of the office that was on high st. west of ceco pharmacy.

    • What is a puritanical person?
      very strict in moral or religious matters, often excessively so; rigidly austere. Sometimes Puritanical . of, relating to, or characteristic of Puritans or Puritanism.

      You do know google still works!! this is for those who really want to know. Find out for yourself don’t make no one spit in your mouth.


  3. Drop the mike! More people should answer Gaston Browne. In a country plagued with so many problems where does he find the time to engage every comment on FB that he disagrees with. He is so idle and the devil continues to find work for him to do. How did such levels immaturity reach our highest elected office? We’re in a bad, bad state in this country.

  4. Who is the commissioner of integrity? Does he or she do anything? Are they hiding for fear the spotlight shines on them?

  5. Very good letter! Reasoned and the reader understands the points being made without the writer having to state it out plainly. Also proves Gaston uses words he does not understand.

  6. Well said Mr Maharaj, I also have four points that highlights the hypocrisy and duplicity of Gaston ‘Gassy’ Browne:

    1), I recall, he put some sort of ban in place on our singers/artists on ROASTING him. Yet, he ridicules anyone who has a different OPINION than his; and the name calling is so un-ministerial.

    2), On litigation matters, he seems obsessed with these PERSONAL cases, instead of focussing on matters of state; and all to the detriment of the citizens of Antigua & Barbuda.

    3), Tourism seems to be his ‘raison d’etre’, whereas, it seems his number one goal for his citizens is to continue, forever and a day, to keep serving the rich, and not seeking other REWARDING revenue streams.

    4), And worst of all, I witnessed his blatant lying tongue when he visited the Antigua & Barbuda Embassy (when he first came to office) and appealed to Antiguans living abroad to invest in the country. We BELIEVED HIM, and invested in the country we loved, only to be – years later – locked out of our homes, lively-hoods and most of all, the people we love and care for.


  7. I keep saying the man does not have a good command of the English language. His word selection is at best tyrannical. A thesaurus does him no justice. He misuses words in context regularly. He ties himself up continuously. Just listen to his rants. He goes off on a tangent without prompt. Somebody direct this man to the public library. Since those books in his office are for decorative purposes only.

    Keep up the pressure.

  8. A…We need an agency such as Interpol, FBI which will have jurisdiction over the ENTIRE CARICOM REGION to investigate, charge and prosecute our Government officials, from our prime ministers to LAWYERS who protect and defend these crooks, WHO’RE all part of the same fraternal order.
    There is no separation in their ideology once they put on their robes. Prosecutor or Defense, attorneys/lawyers still get paid.
    We the People get fed stories with so many spins and versions, like a TV Series(Green Acres) from the 1950’s and has won Emmy’s, Grammies and Oscars every year for the past 70 years.”

    B…Both political parties are plucking the People royally. Therefore, only an outside law enforcement agency with some shark teeth, piranha teeth can come in and bring some semblance to the malfeasance in the governance of Our Nation’s finance!

  9. A “puritanical gun for hire:” a person who wraps himself in self-righteousness, but is noting but a gun for hire. An oxymoronic term of art, to describe deceitful and dishonest discourse design to injure others, but clothed in “purity,” ostensibly for the public good.

    • Man in the mirror aka top dawg are these people some of your guns for hire?
      Sly J
      Franklin aka Derailleur
      The Nannie Avril
      Ten man
      From the sideline
      How could I forget the Biltmore Hotle prostitute, aka daddy’s will.

    • Teach him Gaston. They come here like they so bright because observer give them a voice, but they dunce like fart.

    • Why do you think so many people are cussing you on this medium? Name me another prime minister in the Caribbean who receives more cussing than you. If you would do what the people paid you to and stop using every opportunity to get rich off the country’s assets, no one would have to call you out. You are a dam crook, end of story.

    • Nuff Said.
      Observer likes to invite those outsiders to come and mingle into our politics. That is what the Big Issues has become.

      • Nasty stinking politics that people like you defend? Good thing you old and will be soon off the scene so enlightened Antiguans won’t have to hear from you. You sound like Tanny. You don’t like the Big Issues because it exposes to the world the nastiness going on in Antigua by Gaston Browne. Don’t worry, me a pray for him.
        Ask Gaston how his son acquired Barnacle Point at no apparent cost to him and not even land transfer was paid to the government.

  10. Edited version

    A “puritanical gun for hire:” a person who wraps himself in self-righteousness, who is engaged as a “gun for hire.” An oxymoronic term of art, to describe their deceitful, dishonest and prejudicial discourse design to injure others, but clandestinely clothed in “purity,” ostensibly for the public good.

  11. puritanical
    Learn to pronounce
    having or displaying a very strict or censorious moral attitude towards self-indulgence or sex.
    “his puritanical parents saw any kind of pleasure as the road to damnation”

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