The opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has dismissed the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP’s) latest move in avoiding a full public inquiry as blatant obfuscation.
According the UPP, it is also, for numerous reasons, no less ludicrous than the previous recommendation that the ONDCP determine if a Public Inquiry is warranted.
The opposition party said the ONDCP itself also has questions to answer as to its handling of requests for cooperation from the Brazilian government.
Attorney Anthony Astaphan has acted – and currently serves – as Gaston Browne’s personal lawyer in multiple matters and has even campaigned on behalf of the ABLP.
As a result, the UPP believes he has a severe conflict of interest, and would be unethical to even consider this assignment.
“Given the gravity of findings that have already been unearthed in other international jurisdictions that point to widespread violations and breaches of law as it relates to the Meinl Bank and lack of proper oversight by the ONDCP, an Astaphan-aided investigation is unacceptable. The public deserves an open independent hearing to put these issues to rest and to ensure that the relevant reform can take place,” Senator Harold Lovell said.
Additionally, Lovell notes that only a Public Inquiry can unmask the truth of who exactly is involved in the Odebrecht scandal because only a Public Inquiry (which is a sort of court) can summon anyone to testify under oath. The ONDCP and all other options do not have the legal authority to unearth the evidence required to answer all pertinent outstanding questions.
The UPP is questioning the ability of the Public Inquiry to fully unmask all involvement in the Odebrecht scandal the reason why the ruling administration so stridently resists it.
It notes that the ABLP government has squandered money on bailouts and One Nation Concerts, adding that the full Public Inquiry would cost a mere fraction of these excesses, with a far greater benefit to the health of the nation.