In yet another desperate attempt to stem the tide rising against him, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, once again, is resorting to blatant lies about the United Progressive Party (UPP).
The UPP is fully conscious that Mehul Choksi’s purported wealth is the subject of criminal accusations in his native India, and the Party categorically denies Browne’s fabrication that Mr. Choksi funded its 2018 elections campaign.
Further, the Party refutes any allegation that it solicited or received any gifts from Mr. Choksi and his family.
Political Leader Harold Lovell has never met or even had a conversation with Mr. Choksi, and has never designated anyone to solicit or receive funds from him, in the past or present.
Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle has had no interaction with the Choksi family and has never promised any representation of their interests in Parliament.
It is public knowledge that Mr. Choksi received Antigua & Barbuda citizenship in 2017 under the Gaston Browne Administration and took up residence here in January 2018, just two months ahead of the General Elections.
Accordingly, the Party asks the public:
- Who, and which political party, would have been in the position to solicit and receive campaign funds from a reputed billionaire businessman?
- Was the granting of Mr. Choksi’s citizenship timed to coincide with the Antigua Labour Party’s election campaign?
- And how many times did Prime Minister Browne and Mr. Choksi meet ahead of the 2018 polls?
Having amended the legislation governing the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his Executive have ensured that the names of persons who receive status by this route remain secret.
In fact, by a 2020 amendment – and using the excuse of the COVID-19 pandemic – the Browne Administration made it possible for applicants to become Investment citizens without having to show themselves in person at all.
Given these realities, the UPP asks:
- Who and which political party are in the position to identify and access wealthy individuals and receive campaign contributions?
The United Progressive Party’s advocacy in the Choksi matter is not for the individual facing accusations in India. Rather, the UPP is advocating – and will continue to advocate – for respect of the rule of law and the Constitution, which, together, protect citizens from abuse by the State.
Accordingly, we will resist all efforts by PM Browne and others to “spin” our good-governance position into fabrications to shore up their political slippage.