Nearly 10K CIU Payment To Maria Browne Was “Totally Legitimate”

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Cabinet spokesman Melford Nicholas today attempted to explain why the Citizenship by Investment Unit paid out almost $10 thousand to Housing Minister Maria Browne.

Antigua News Room reported yesterday that $9,948.34 was paid as insurance premium for  Browne in 2018.

The sum was disclosed in a report published on the CIU’s website. 

In his attempt at explaining the payment, Nicholas revealed that Mrs Browne is entitled to insurance coverage by the state.

He said as the wife of the prime minister already had comprehensive insurance coverage, rather than joining the scheme for members of the Lower House,she opted to keep her policy. His explanation suggested that Mrs Browne was being reimbursed for the lost benefit she would have otherwise enjoyed as an elected MP.

Nicholas told the post Cabinet news conference that Maria Browne was to be reimbursed by the treasury but the state did not have the money to pay her so the CIU made the payment.

“In the case of two members of the Government; in the first instance, Minister Charles Max Fernandez and in the second instance Minister Maria Browne, both entered the parliament carrying major medical insurance. And it was felt that it was necessary that rather than them terminate those health insurance that carried dependents of theirs on that policy, rather than to terminate that policy, the government would  move to pay that portion of the premium  that they would normally pay so that it would not necessitate  them having to restart a new insurance premium.

“So in as much as they are not seated properly as part of the group health insurance, they would still be provided with that health insurance.

“The payment that was presented to the public out of the CIP funds seemed to have created some alarm, and again this points to the transparency of the government. We are required to indicate to the public through the Parliament at six months intervals. Again this is an old report going back to 2018, there is no secret about it.

“The events will show that at that particular point in time submissions were made to the treasury for the treasury to provide that portion of Mrs Browne’s premium but safe to say, in the absence of the available cash flow of the treasury, the resources were sought from the CIU.

“It is absolutely legitimate transaction, there is nothing to hide, every member of the Lower House enjoys this coverage,” Nicholas said.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. What utter rubbish! The ALP have turned the CIU into their personal slush fund. Antigua people still have not gotten one hapney from this wicked corrupt government for COVID relief, but all the ALP cronies ah yam out all de passport money. Where is the Leader of the Opposition???

    • Public servants? You may mean civil servants. There are stat corps where the employer contributes to the insurance

  2. This seems to be out of order. The money must come from the Treasury only. We have only one Treasury. No side stuff, please.

  3. There are so many people in Antigua and Barbuda who are going around begging money to help them with medical expenses because they can’t afford it. Some even have fund raising activities like barbecue, walk-a-ton, etc. Lady Maria Brown can afford her medical expenses since she and her husband are millionaires. Why used our CIP? She and all the others should pay it back.

  4. If this is normal, God help us. Talk about excessive! No justification for this kind of thing. Where is the Political Ombudsman? Where are the religious voices? Our nation has lost its conscience.

    • Modica: Min Nicholas, how many years premium is that? or is it a reimbursement for medical expenses? wicked set of people.

    • @Audley Philip…”Our nation has lost its conscience!” 👀👀🆘️🆘️I am headed to Burma Crossroads, riding a donkey cart, with Jumbee Picknee as a witness, to consult Papa Elegba, to find out, when Our Nation had a conscience! 🤣😂😅😴😂😅😅😴😴

        • @Audley Phillip…satellite mapping, using infra red and microwave technology, from Yah’s Fire Chariot will end the, diligent sesrch.
          The problem is, the bamboozled People, even when presented with the #Facts will say, “nutten ‘tarl go so!”

  5. this is bull, why should the PM wife that done have life made be paid so much money and up to now some ppl cant get pension.

  6. If they had used the money for pension and salaries it won’t hit us this hard BUT for all those crops. Something smells fishy. This has to be investigated, too much on poor poor.

      • @From the Sidelines…how does, “many millions going to Social Security each month,” justifies these payments to Maria Bird – Browne, MP, simply because she prefers to keep her private Insurance, and not opt into what is offered to the members of parliament?

  7. This is a headache for poor people. The thing is we are begging for the stimulus and up to now NOTHING BUT they are enjoying the CIP money. THIS SHIT I CAN’T DEAL WITH.

    • The headache was when Jacqui Quinn was given about $200K from MBS when other were denied assistance to go overseas for medical attention. But I guess that was OK then.

    • The was when Jacqui Quinn was given over $200K from MBS to go overseas, when others were denied assistance to go overseas. But I guess that was OK then. Because it was your party in power.

  8. This sounds like when Lester Bird was PM and the Government rented Lester Bird’s own house for him to live in.

  9. A none issue. The some 100K payment MBS made on Quinn Leandro’s behalf to cover her cancer treatment in Atlanta more stands out. The question here should be is it abnormal for employers to pay some portion of insurance payments for employees? Even looking at public entities this is happening. Consultations started early this year regarding the National Health insurance scheme with MBS being central to this. Covid is another reminder that we need to make that transition as quickly as possible

  10. Where is the PMs wife from, born Antiguan? I’m asking because im not in Antigua and only recently hearing about her

  11. This just keeps getting worse.

    On the good side, it’s good to see transparency coming about now.

    And I don’t care which party it is. If they wrong, get them out.

  12. In the mean time Police and Immigration who are on the front line performing dangerous tasks and risking their lives daily has no insurance.

  13. Wow….This is a new low…..reimbursement for insurance that one decides to keep? People are not getting paid on time and the priority is for reimbursement to folks that claim they have millions? Wow…..these politicians! Never new there were so many privileges accorded to them within the constitution or they just make these up as they go along. Every one has their hands in the cookie jar so no one can say “this is wrong and I will speak out about it”. Are the citizens of A & B hands tied so we cannot do anything about what the politicians are doing for this country? Wicked set ah criminals!

  14. Ems workers and nurses dont even have an insurance policy in place where govt pay 80% and they pay 20% or vice versa. Nuses salary is still less than $3000 monthly and they cant even qualify for a mortgage. They should have used some of that money and increased workers in health care salaries who are grossly underpaid

  15. Why are you people complaining.She became an MP in 2018.The vaults of CIP Funds opened widely since then.Thousands of you did not go out and vote on Election Day.So you tek,wha you get.That is what would happen.When you do not exercise your rights to vote.You would get the Maria Browne’s and others like her,of this world.Since 2018,point to one thing she has done.Other than getting rich like heck on OUR pennies.The $9,948.34 paid out is that EC$ or US$.

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