PM Browne Seeks Settlement In Online Gaming Dispute

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Stating that 12 years is too long for the United States to abide by a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling favoring Antigua and Barbuda on online gaming, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minster Gaston Browne has reiterated his call on Washington to “respect the decision of the WTO and settle its obligations soonest.”

“Our small island states could be forgiven for their belief that the cards are being deliberately stacked against them,” said Browne Friday evening in his address to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate. “No evidence is available to contend otherwise.

“In this connection, my government is obliged, once again, to draw to the attention of this Assembly, that 15 years ago, my country won an arbitration against the United States in a trade dispute at the World Trade Organizati­on,” he added. “The matter was appealed twice and twice the Arbitral award was given in Antigua and Barbuda’s favor. The final award was made 12 years ago.”

The prime minister said the WTO gave Antigua and Barbuda the right to sell US copyright material on an annual basis to recover the full costs of its trade losses.

But Browne said Antigua and Barbuda decided not to do so but to negotiate with the US government, since the US would deprive US copyright holders of “deserved income from their intellectual property through no fault of theirs.”

“But advantage has been taken of our forbearance and our magnanimity,” he said, adding that, despite the WTO, “my small country has not been able to bring the representatives of the United States to the table to settle this arbitration award.

“The arbitral award due to us has been ignored while the perennial trade surplus that the United States enjoys with my little country has exceeded $3.53 billion dollars in the 12 years since 2007,” he continued. “This, too, is unfair, unjust and unconscionable.

“How many times must we come here and ask the United States to settle?” he asked rhetorically. “We want justice. “Once again, we urge the United States to respect the decision of the WTO and settle its obligations soonest. Twelve years is too long.”

The prime minister said Antigua and Barbuda cannot forego legally awarded recompense for the trade losses it has suffered by US action.

“We are not afraid of your might,” he declared. “We are standing on principle. Let me make it clear, we, too, have a duty of care to our people. Just as much as you are protecting your interest, we must also protect our national interest.

“The last time I checked, we live in a democratic world,” Browne added. “So those who want to take punitive action against us for talking up for our rights can do so. We will stand in any forum and defend the interest of Antigua and Barbuda.”

The Antiguan leader said his government is also “deeply concerned” about the trade contention between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China, stating that trade wars “invariably push-up the cost of living for peoples across the world, especially the poor and vulnerable.”

He said they ultimately cause the entire global economy to suffer.

“We are already in that spiral,” he said. “Confrontat­ion instead of dialogue and cooperation is exacerbating risks, eroding confidence and weakening the prospect of global economic growth.

“There will be no winners if this continues; only losers,” he added.

Unfortunately, among the hardest hit will be small island developing states with their open and vulnerable economies, Browne said.

“There we go again, small developing nations suffering from the hands of the mighty,” he said.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. “We are not afraid of your might,” he declared. “We are standing on principle. Let me make it clear, we, too, have a duty of care to our people. Just as much as you are protecting your interest, we must also protect our national interest.”
    Speaking Truth to Power without FEAR. Not many leaders especially here in the Caribbean demonstrate this kind of courage and as we would say testicular fortitude. That is why I am so proud of him. He stands tall amidst many world leader. Lovell and the like would say he is not diplomatic. In other words he needs to kiss ass.

  2. Taking the stage again to complain about not being paid, yet his government owes individuals hundreds of thousands in litigation suits it was demanded to pay. I guess a robber does not like it when he feels robbed!.

    • In case you do not realize because of your blind hatred for the man. The money he is fighting for is not for him personally. It’s for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. And that includes you(if you are Antiguan) and me for sure. But you would rather have Antigua suffer under ABLP that the country to be well off. Cause in your mind that would than hurt the ABLP and get them out of office. Wish one day you will start putting country before party

      • The same is said about WIOC and APUA, it is owned by the people, but we never see a cent of the profits or get and audited financial reports.
        Maybe the money just disappear into per diem, hotels and “fees” who’s to tell.
        I believe the US is waiting on a competent government to take the reins before they waste any money in fattening some politician bank account.

        • I wish you cloud make a more educated comment. In what form would you like to see the effects of the profits from WIOC or States Insurance for that matter. Would you like to see a check made out to each and every citizen. Because each time they have a check presentation it is televised. And the name on the check is that of the government of Antigua and Barbuda and is deposited into the consolidated funds as revenues. But then again when the government present the annual accounts you take no notice of the very different revenues that are being reported. Like when the Treasury gets money from the CIP and spends it on recurrent expenses.

      • The money is not for him personally? Is for the people of Antigua and barbuda???? Hahahahahahahaha haha BEST joke of the day!!!! Wake up!!!!

        • You know what my biggest wish is. That with the coming on stream of the Five Island Campus more Antiguans and Barbudans get educated and that we can have more educated discussions. Cause I really cannot see why this is a joke for you. When politicians spend the government money it is called our money. When they receive money on our behalf it is also our money. A person not paying tax is stealing our money.

  3. America don’t answer to anyone especially small countries, so Top Dawg keep barking maybe someday the money owed will pay up. The settlement is long overdue. Antigua and Barbuda can do good with that $3.53 million. It would help to improve the country infrastructures, salaries and wages been paid, pensioners, back-pay, etc…

  4. Barack Obama for whom a mountain in Antigua is named.Why he did not honor the judgement from the WTO.The WTO judgement had nothing to do with cash.It had to with intellectual properties.So do not hold your breath.Or else you would suffocate before you would see one RED CENT.The WTO like the UNITED NATIONS are two wasted organizations.They are filled with corruption.Not one darn penny of our taxing paying dollars are coming.To sure up this corrupted regime inna Antigua and Barbuda.

    • Because no matter what party usually Americans are all the same. Barack Obama was there to take care of America’s business. His skin color or race has nothing to do with it. America first. I have many American friends and when I tell them about this ruling and how their government is behaving like a bully, they just shake it of as oh well that is our government. Stanford brought a plane full of US Congress men and women and when Baldwin brought up this matter they all said they were not willing to lobby their government for this. There is no force in the world that can compel the USA to pay Antigua. And if we only try to do anything punitive we will see the reaction. This is just the reality. And my advise is chose battles you can win. This one we cannot and will never win. No matter how much we name and shame them.
      USA just won a case against the European Union about the subsidies to the airplane manufacturing in there territory vs Boeing. And they are quick to run with that judgement as a victory lap by Donald Trump. Yet our victory lap they just ignore.

    • You see what happens when Uncle Sam place sanctions on a country. That is what you want to happen to us?

  5. It always amazes me how some people who call themselves Antiguan/Barbudan can gloat when companies/governments try to withhold whatever is due to our bit of paradise. Some because they are overseas and their government is no better than ours when it comes to corruptions, others who do not support the political party in governance, yet they complain when GOVERNMENTS meet hard time to pay us monthly remittance. What is true is that WTO and UN only function when there is a request from USA who bully every country in the world except China and Russia. Keep seeking what is due to our bit of Paradise Mr. PM. Most appreciate your effort.

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