MP Pringle says justice for lost migrants demands that Sir Rodney immediately convene requested inquiry


MP Pringle says justice for lost migrants demands that  Sir Rodney immediately convene requested inquiry

In the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy in which 17 migrant West Africans apparently lost their lives at sea, MP Jamale Pringle, Leader of the Opposition, is calling on the Governor-General to immediately convene a commission to inquire into the circumstances that brought them here – specifically the genesis and operations of Antigua Airways.

Six weeks ago, Pringle wrote to His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams, requesting an audience to discuss the matter of the airline and the hundreds of Africans it left stranded here.

He subsequently led a delegation to detail his concerns and those of the United Progressive Party and urge the Governor-General to convene an inquiry into the matter, which appeared to be riddled with aviation irregularities and tainted with allegations of migrant trafficking.

Sir Rodney ultimately declined to do so; instead, he advised Pringle that he had conveyed his delegation’s concerns to Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, who, allegedly, was having the matter investigated.

Since then, however, suspicions about the venture have been confirmed, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne announcing, on March 25, that Antigua Airways is defunct.

Given the tragic incident at sea, and the international implications of what strongly resembles migrant trafficking, Pringle says, “the guilty must be brought to justice.”

Accordingly, he is also appealing to “stakeholders in this country: church and civil leaders; community groups and NGOs; and every God-fearing and morally conscious citizen and resident to stand up, speak out and demonstrate for the lives lost.”

Meanwhile, Pringle says he and fellow members of the Upper and lower Houses of Parliament, as well as other members of the Redeem Team, are prepared to lead a “Black

March” and candlelight vigil in the interest of justice for the lost Africans and for answers for a grieving and embarrassed population.

They have also begun the process of composing official requests to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Barbados, among others, in order to bring light to the shadows clouding the twin-island state.

“As a country, we need to take these necessary measures to resolve this human-rights issue that has put another stain on our country.   When will enough be enough?  Antigua and Barbuda, only you hold the answer to that question,” the Opposition Leader says.

In the meantime, on behalf of the Leadership, Executive and Membership of the United Progressive Party, Pringle conveys his sincere condolences to the families, friends and fellow-nationals of those lost at sea on Tuesday morning.

“They left their country in search of a better life, and we understand that,” he says.  “They did not deserve to die trying to find it.”

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  1. Cubans die all the time in quest of a better life. Haitians suffer similar fate. It’s sad and unfortunate that these Africans left this far to come and die in our region but whwt do we know of the shady deals and promises our leaders make to hold on to power?

  2. Really? Is it the same Africans you all were fighting to get out of the country? Now you want to stand up for them? You should have been fighting for them while they were alive. You and your party supporters pushed them away. They did not feel welcome here because of you people. Stop try to gain political points. You are just as guilty and should their the blame in their demise

  3. Sir Rodney must act now before another calamity befalls this poor country. The ALP and the PM are in it up to their necks.

  4. This government is really playing with fire. This story is circulating worldwide and it is going to get worse as the search for the victims continue. These Africans were bamboozled by Antigua Airways, a company in which the govt has 25% shares.
    They do not want to be stuck on a tiny island. They thought they were going to Antigua, Guatemala en route to America. They never heard of Antigua the island.
    Gaston needs to investigate this thing and make the agreement between the government and Antigua Airways public. Where are the 10 CIP passports?
    The story will eventually come out!

  5. Gaston should be asked to charter 10 barges from Dominica with water for the 10,000 gallons of water each firetrucks sprayed in welcoming Antigua Airways (now defunct).

  6. Instead of the usual infantile attempt for attention, why not be constructive and have one regarding the young lady your collogue MP Bowen killed? The appeals court judges in general agreed a retrial is best for there to be justice. In terms of the circumstances which brought the refugees here, Gemma Handey did a report for BBC titled “Cameroonian Migrants Stranded on an Island They Had Not Heard Of-Antigua”, march 7th which explains why and how they left. Pringle needs to take a read, digest and comprehend, and stop with his insistence on wasting tax payers money for questions already answered.

  7. Bring forward the convention so Richard Lewis can take his rightful place. DEAD DARG PICK-UP-CORN PRINGLE is a political dunce!!!

  8. I am one of the Africans who came in through the chattered and we were not trafficked by a single person rather many wicked travel agents. If you ask my fellow Africans who told them about Antigua or helped them get here, you shall then understand that no 5 Africans have the same agent. Some agents collected money from us to get us to south America and some said America. We came in about 900 persons and only 600 are left because some true agents kept to their words and got some of us flights to leave Antigua at the early days . But some agents abandoned some Africans after collecting advanced funds to get them to south America. Yes Antigua airways was launched in West Africa which was announced and had to be used officially as a newly launched airline for those who always dreamt of visiting the carribean. But some travel agents saw it as a transit route to get us to south America. Gaston Browne isn’t the problem and neither did he bring us here . As a matter of fact the faults are the travel agents who collected money from us . Being a newly launched airline there wasn’t many checks done which led to all of this. I came into Antigua on the 28th of December which was one of the last flights to arrive and I recalled we had issues with the plane boarding. Seems it was already noticed in Antigua that we were not rich and maybe someone tried to stop the plane from coming . So we had to provide funds of atleast a thousand dollars before coming. Alot of Africans going into measures of using fake passports or using boats to leave is firstly because of the fear of deportation. And also from the beginning we never felt welcomed . We are also humans and if not of our political situations , some Africans who came in with the chattered flights were doing good in Africa than most antiguans and are very literate.

  9. Are you a mad person?????
    You all critise them Yu All claim the prime minister brought them here to vote Yu all fight them down they felt unsafe. Antiguans was ready to protest against them saying they gonna over populate the country I walk in town I see antiguans cussing camaroons saying they should go back to Africa nobody want them here.Now these poor souls fled Antigua in search of a home in a country where they will he rescue an be safe an inspite of that it led them to there death an it’s so sad. Theses African’s are human being an Yu all treated them like there not from earth the prime minister did his best in taking them here try to safe them from the war in Africa an the only thing upp did was try to fight these poor Africans,so Mr Pringles ur talking nonsense here. Dnt try to help now wen u was ready to get them out a Antigua

  10. The same Africans who the UPP encouraged Antiguan’s to March against them. Blood is on the UPP hands. They chased them into a boat in unsafe waters to save themselves from the cruel hardships the UPP wanted to impose on them.

  11. UPP and their supporters aren’t responsible for the actions of Gaston Browne’s migrants. Gaston Browne and his cabinet members are the ones who facilitated the Africans illegal entry into Antigua in the dead of the night, it is ALP are the ones whose got the Africans blood is on their hands.

    Gaston Browne’s migrants took the risk to leave Antigua as they came in like thives in the night. It is interesting that they could afford to pay $6000 USD to take a boat ride to their destructions,but none thought about purchasing life jackets for their safety.

    I have repeatedly stated that I do not buy their story that they left their home land because of unrest. There’s no substantial evidence to support their claim.

    They are fraudsters and Antigua should not have given them open access to our shores, nor condone their illegal position in Antigua.

    I am very certain that no West African country would entertain Antiguans to enter their shores illegally, equally, why should we?

  12. We are all suffering from post slavery trauma. Right now we are swaying in the wind prone to believe everything that we hear and nothing that the authorities say or do will gain our trust and those opposed to Honorable Gaston Browne and his administration see this as an opportunity to gain political points. The real tragedy is that humans where we all originated, are persecuted for their religious beliefs, forced to undergo unspeakable atrocities and become so desperate that they will leave their homeland and everything they own to go halfway around the world in search of better circumstances to survive. Many of us have no idea what that “life” is about and hopefully we will never know. We must just stop and think about this for a moment instead of running our mouths from our comfortable armchairs.

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