There must be a public inquiry into the African Migrant Saga and the arrival of hundreds of West African Migrants into Antigua and Barbuda.
Akash Maharaj from the Global Parliamentarian Organisation came to that conclusion during a panel discussion organized by the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
He insisted that there must be an inquiry to do democratic justice to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the people who died in that boat.
Maharaj said the facts of the case that have come to light within the public make it clear that there are simply too many unanswered questions to allow this to pass.
“This is not just a simple tragedy. Private actors may have committed malfeasance, matters have gone ire and it has even ended in the loss of lives.”
“The reason I think it is imperative for a public inquiry is undeniable there is a political implication in this. When Antigua Airways was first chartered the government of Antigua and Barbuda chose to take a public stake in it,” Maharaj said.
Lawyers in Antigua and Barbuda and overseas have expressed different views on whether or not Governor General Sir Rodney Williams has the authority to initiate a probe without approval from Cabinet.
The government has said publicly that the GG cannot act without prior approval.
The political analyst went on to state that having a stake in the airline makes the government culpable and they had a duty “to the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to spend their money appropriately”.
“Many aspects of this airline clearly did not pass the sniff test. When it came to light that a printing press in Nigeria that had no history of operating an airline, that should have raised red flags in anyone’s minds”.
He also pointed out that when the airline made its inaugural flight to Antigua it was greeted by government officials, hence, it was clear there were political interventions.
Another red flag Maharaj said was the arrival of these visitors who, while they made the flight, were unable to pay for taxi fares and accommodations.
Former Political Leader of the UPP Harold Lovell also intimated that there were enough signs, from the onset, to demonstrate that Antigua’s involvement with the airline was not a legitimate one.
“This was always a ruse to get people out of West Africa into the United States”, Lovell said.
He is adamant that a “clear violation of the law” goes unanswered.