UPP Chairman calls out Administration on double standards, after news of Ashanti birthday party surfaces


The Government is once again being criticized for its double standard in enforcing the rules as they pertain to visitors.

Criticisms of the Browne Administration have flooded REAL News since a hotelier confirmed that US celebrity Ashanti, who is in Antigua celebrating her 40th birthday, was allowed to have a private party, reportedly on Tuesday night.

REAL News understands that the event, which was held at the Hodges Bay Club, attracted scores of industry professionals, including artiste Flo Rider, and camera crews.

Further reports are that during the “surprise” birthday party, fireworks were discharged at about 1:30 a.m., and frightened many area residents out of their sleep.

Our News Department understands that the early-morning fireworks could be heard as far as Coolidge, with some residents in the Hodges Bay and Royals Estate areas thinking they were gunshots.

Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP) D. Gisele Isaac sees the hosting of this event as a double standard.

She points out that proposals for local bars to close at 8 p.m. were being considered, reportedly because owners are not adhering to the COVID-19 protocols – including social distancing – and that the Minister of Health has been complaining bitterly about private parties.

“How can you be pressing for bars to close at 8 p.m. and the curfew to be extended to year-end while the Hodges Bay Club hosts parties with fireworks going off at 1 am?” she asks.

Isaac makes mention of a picnic that was hosted on Prickly Pear Island during the height of the national lockdown, about which the Police said they knew nothing, even after Coast Guard officials shut down the event and made a report. That issue, she says, was just left to die.

Meanwhile, the UPP Chairman says local businesses “are struggling and dying, unable to breathe because of the Government’s knee on their necks.”

She is therefore questioning whether the lives of the Black citizens in this country matter, and why the rules apply only to locals, with this Administration.

Isaac tells REAL News that she has posed those very questions to Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph, but has had no response.

Meanwhile, photos circulating on social media show Flo Rider, along with another individual, posing in a picture at one of the country’s beaches.

Questions are being raised as to which beach the two were on and how they got to the location, since neither was wearing a face mask at the time.

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  1. Nothing will be done to the hotel owners. They immune to the law. Only the rest of us will get jail or fined for holding a party. Waste of time government.

  2. So I live in hodges bay, close to that hotel and let me tell you, fireworks started at 1:38am and lasted for quite a long time. They were excessively loud and disruptive at that hour of the morning and especially for a Tuesday night. All of hodges bay residents are furious about this, it was extremely disrespectful and
    Inconsiderate. Big deal if Ashanti is in Antigua, that gives them a reason to break the curfew that they put in place and disturb the entire neighborhood at 1:38 in the morning to celebrate her birthday??!!! Absolute nonsense, I hope they take lots of heat for this crap that they do, Shame on you!

  3. As much as there might be merit to the concerns nothing that is said by politicians is of relevance. They pacify hoteliers when in government and face criticism from opposition and when the opposition goes in they do the same crap.

    To the people of hodges bay sorry to hear about that. To the politicians lamenting… Move on.

  4. NO NO NO!!! Hodges Bay club is supposed to be charged and fined!!! Now if you’re telling me that this was “a surprise birthday party”, then shouldn’t she be calling on the authorities to fine The Club? Who the hell gives a damn about Ashanti? If I lived in Hodges Bay or those areas around there you better believe that I would be out my house curfew or not and they would have to call police for me and carry us all down to the station.

    And really Giselle? Black Lives Matter? Did you do your homework on this one? Did you find out if anyone called the police? 911? The Pope? The Queen? I mean if you tell me that they did called the police and no one showed up……..

    • As if her party any better than this one in piwer. Their leader would have proberly been up there partying with them. Remember when he was tourism mininter 2004-2009 he never missed a photo opp with a celebrity.

        • @Zackie I aint making excuses for Gaston and his gang but I am stating an obvious fact. The UPP would do the same crap and the leader would most likley have been there partying up with Ashanti. Six and half a dozen ah the same thing.

      • Was there a curfew when he was Tourism Minister? Some of you are so off the rail and out of touch with your comments. Just face the TRUTH.

  5. Disgusted

    I wish to add my name to the list of Hodges Bay residents who were annoyed, disgusted and dumbfounded by the fireworks.

    I knew it was a display of fireworks and not gunshots because, sadly, in another place and time I learnt what gunshots sound like.

    Having a private party in defiance of the Covid-19 regulations is bad enough. But to wantonly let off fireworks is to send a loud and blazing signal that some people are way above the law. And they know it.

    In that other place and time where I learnt the sound of gunshot, I also learnt something about lawbreakers: Either they are ultimately stupid, thinking they will never get caught; or they are really connected and have the law on their side.

    The ide of Halloween and Guy Fawkes awaits.

  6. So ANR really nah post that Cabinet reject Dr Molwyn perposal for bar lock down at 8:00 or that nah sensational enough for them?

  7. Mark Johnson you are not lying. I live at Marble Hill and also heard the sound of the fireworks. I got up and looked towards the Cedar Grove area and saw the fireworks.

  8. Not only the UPP chairman, all ah we. Gaston allowing tourists to do this and we under Draconian rules.

    It’s time we rise up and vote all them idiots out of office. If we have impeachment on the books, we need to start doing that right away. If not, we need to pull the dictator out of office.

  9. What the regime is doing is unconstitutional and unfair to the people.

    Yida can do anything they want in the protected marine environment by Guiana Island while we the people are banned from fishing there.

    Foreignors getting more rights than we.

  10. People are allowed to have gatherings as long as they adhere to social distancing and covid 19 protocols

    Antiguans are so bad minded and hateful

    The rest of the Caribbean are having events safely with new safe protocols in place and Antigua is still trying to lock down the place.

    The world is moving on with life safely Antigua needs to do the same

    • The world is not moving on safely, we are in a second wave and facing stricter rules. Whatever rules are in place in Antigua needs to be applied to everyone, citizens and tourists.

  11. It’s a good promo for tourism so y’all need to take a chill pill.. I rather die of Covid than of hunger.. The tourism industry need to be opened back up..

    • Bet if u had a private party with fireworks you would’ve been charge so u all need to stop defend stupidness

  12. This Promotion will bring PLENTY money to TOURISM. I read this article in the NEW YORK TIMES. STOP the noise UPP.

  13. Did UPP report this to the police? First step

    Did Cabinet approve the party?

    Did the police give permission for fire works display?

    Was the firs police on hand in case of emergency?

    Who benefited financially from this breach of law?(Other than the hotel)

    • You sound stupid … cabinet DOES NOT approve any private gathering in Antigua covid or not … how do you know how many people were present ???

      If you can have a gathering of 10 people how do u know it wasn’t 10 and they’re werent protocols in place .. shut up !

      Private events/wedding etc have fire works all the time and the company supplying the fire works make sure nothing goes wrong not the police … Or ambulance … u simpleton …Antigua just not accustom to anything .. a bunch of backwards illiterate people trying to sound smart and over thinking themselves right into being dunces!

      Was upp at the party?! why would they report it …. shut up .. people knew after the fact because of rumors and hear say .. and you can’t tell the police oh I hear ! Antigua need to get a life

      You think 2 days after the fact you can go to the police and say I hear there was a party .., how do you know protocols weren’t followed.

      All you old people need to go
      Sleeep until covid done.. which is never.. so find a way to live life safely which is what the woman was doing


      In a time when the whole of America is celebrating in Mexico or Dominican Republic the girl. Came to Antigua with her family … she always move with her family .. how many damn people do y’all think was at the party you dunces you think it was 150 that flew in …it wasn’t even 25..

      And they all had to have negative test upon arrival

      Antigua is fighting and begging America to take them off of the stage 3 covid listing so they can get tourism and now a big celebrity return to Antigua to celebrate with family and close friends all of whom are negative … look how all you have it … smh … if I was her I would write the worst review ever about Antigua …. and people would follow cause she is loved by all..

      Get a life Antigua ….

      Y’all even talking about vaccine .. running y’all mouth …but how many of you take the flu shot annually to prevent the spread of the flu that kills more people a yearrr..

      Every damn trial has been stopped or hit glitches but y’all talking bout you waiting for vaccine in all you nuff , dunce a$$$

      Shut up ! Are you dumb!

    • So who exactly would benefit? I think the lady just came to have a birthday celebration. She posted ALOT on major social media sites … it was actually good publicity in a time when that is what Antigua is looking for.

      Everyone had to be negative to enter the country and I’m not sure how a law was breached. They all had their own rooms at then gathered for dinner. In the hotel and celebrated a birthday … it’s a hotel… sandals still had the dance floor open And 50 people are down there dancing so what exactly was the breach ???

      Antiguan always fly into the sky is falling mode .. everything is not a tragedy ….

      Life is moving on without covid …

      A friend of mine got married 14 people and fireworks … what’s the big deal .,

      Is like y’all jealous people are living their lives and y’all mad because y’all government have y’all lock up!?! Smh

      The people are negative. Antigua is the only country locking up and carrying on so.

      There is no plan to ease the country into a new safe normal phase …. all I’m hearing as soon as covid cases occur is lock up ! Fine them! Jail them!

      People please think! This leadership has no plan to move forward that is why they are just keeping us locked up.

      Other Caribbean nations have moved on. If the borders are opened people will get covid 10/100000 is not crazy at all… calm down and think. People get covid all the time .. Everytime the case goes up by one or 2 you can’t close the bars and cancel everything..

      Antigua you guys failed big time.

      But go ahead and carry on.. the the heavens is falling oh god covid going to get us run in side stay away from everyone … run and hide lock yourselves up… oh and most important when you are walking by yourself with absolutely no one around still wear a mask or police will give you a ticket smh

  14. D.GISELE ISAAC and Tabor raise Their heads on this insignicant issue. D.Gisle Isaac and Tabor…Let’s talk about SCOTIA BANK, ROYAL BANK and LIAT. You Guys are SMALL minded.

  15. What happened to my commends. Are they banned once again. If that is so I will stop contributing to this site

      • Blackman the garbage that you put daily on this website should never have been allowed to be published. The editor is taking a very big risk. You never stay on point and all you do is call people you don’t know all sorts of names and especially the disrespect you show for the PM knowing he would not even bother with you.

  16. From The Sideline I have put comments that were not published as well so you are not alone. I would hate for you to withdraw from ANR so that I will miss the opportunity to challenge your many misguided ad logically flawed comments. I had a comment yesterday challenging ANR and the government for not indicating the Department that was closed because of Covid, since that information should not be a secret, but my comment was not published. Please don’t withdraw from ANR.

  17. We like to talk about “Free Speech”. Yet when it comes to it we practice Selective Speech. And we like tout how democratic we are, but in fact we are very much dictators. Once we are in control we like to let others see who is and has the power. Power makes us s humans feel good. No matter who we re. Give a man power and you will see his true colours. And Editor is a person with great powers. He/She decides what gets published even though we have “Free Speech”. The editor can exercise this power unilaterally and is accountable to no one but himself. FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and others have been put to the test many times. and especially in today’s world of misinformation and hate speech they have or had to make decisions regarding what they will consider Free Speech. And when they do, they will and would be challenged. And given the country they operate in, The United States of America, they will be taking before the courts by those that do not agree with their decisions. We use to have websites like CARIBARENA, which owners and publishers I became very befriended with. I had many arguments with them about this “free speech” thing. Because I saw first hand how they decided to remove certain comments from persons tht participated on their website. We must understand that these people really make the website. It’s all about the traffic. Cause the more traffic the more advertiser are willing to place ads in order to reach potential customers. And that is how the website makes its money. The major rule therefore an editor uses to remove a comment is to hold it for scrutiny to see if;1) it is libellous, 2)if it is profane, 3) incite hate. Now when I write my comments I make sure that I pass these three conditions. That is why whenever my comments are not published I wonder which of these categories I have violated. Sometimes I also wonder if there perhaps was a technical glitch and that my comments perhaps got lost in space. I know I could write to the website or whatsapp or call them and ask the question. But I believe it should be up to the website to inform the blogger that his/her comments cannot be published. We all have to sign in with our email address and therefore the website can always contact us. After having argued my case, the owners/publishers from CARIBARENA, took that recommendation on board. What they also did was that they sometimes, edited your comments by removing only that part of the comments that did not meet the conditions as stated above. Everyone knows that in nowadays litigious environment publishers run a great risk. They can be sued causing them a large financial burden that could cause them to close their business and sometimes lose personal belongings too. Therefore it is difficult to walk a thin line. I think bloggers should be made to agree on a set of terms before they are given access to place comments. It should be clear to each and everyone what is acceptable for publishing and what not. All though we all know blogger post under anonymity. We use fake email addresses and fake names. And these cannot be verified. But at least you have done your part. ACCEPT button is use almost every time one is going to use a certain service. Knowing we will always click on it regardless. I have seen comments here in this website with language that made me wonder about the quality of the editor. Much name calling to the point I wanted to leave long time ago. But I enjoy I must admit on my old age to be engage with other whom I don’t know and who don’t know me. At least those that are posting comments under fake names. Not that I can verify whether those with real names are authentic.
    I urge the editor to look at the above suggestions and bring the standard of the interaction between the bloggers to a higher level and give feedback as to why a comment is not published and where possible edit those that can be edited. It will also force us to do better in future posts.

  18. I’m just trying to understand why the UPP would want this simple issue to be about race at a time like this. Anyone in there know what the word UNITED means? Tired of this kinda thing coming over the years from top UPP people.

    • They are trying to grab at any and every straw they can get. Notice these guys have no clue how to run a successful opposition let alone a government. When we gave them a change to proof themselves they had no clue what to do. They thought running a country was that easy. yeah it is if you want the IMF to run it for you.
      You can than sit back and relax while they carry out their agenda.

  19. Eli I am somewhat confused with your assertion that the UPP was making this issue one of race. Where does race come into the issue? Ashanti is a Black american celebrity who had a birthday celebration in Antigua at the Hodges Bay Club. From my reading of most of the comments on this matter, people were mainly concerned about the total disregard for the covid 19 Regulations that should be adhered to. With respect to the current scenario, I would more understand criticisms based on an analysis on class i.e., allowing big business owners more latitude than a small insignificant business enterprise. In everything one expects to see that laws are applied in a just and equitable manner. To say therefore that the criticisms were grounded or motivated by race are unfounded.

  20. FROM THE SIDELINE it looks like you just make all sorts of wild statements without any basis in fact. Have you forgotten the UPP took over governance of this country in 2004 having to address the years of debt left by the ALP. The debt to GDP was 140%. That is a sign of almost a failed State. The UPP steered the country out of that crisis. Then came the worst financial crisis in 2009 since the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the UPP again steered the country through such a crisis. During that time as well the UPP government introduced many social programmes that the ALP is now benefiting from. One needs to mention only the simple programme of the Dollar Barrel which the ALP is now considering as some kind of STIMULUS to the nation. Should I even bother to mention all the investments, in particular hotel investments, that the ALP continue to benefit from without implementing any investments of their own? Come on FROM THE SIDELINE let objectivity guide your statements. Anyway, government is continuous so no big deal if the ALP is now benefiting from the UPP’s great stewardship of the ship of State.

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