The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has instructed Air Peace operators to ensure that all passengers who arrived on Saturday can return on the same flight.
Recent reports in the media suggest that the immigration department detained more than a dozen African passengers upon arrival on August 5th due to issues with their travel documents, including suspected counterfeit passports and invalid visas.
Our newsroom could not validate these claims, but PM Browne briefly addressed the matter at a function earlier today.
“I am told that a few of the Africans decided they wanted to stay here to transit to other countries. I told them to go to the hotel and pick them up,” Browne said
Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, made history by becoming the first Nigerian carrier to offer nonstop flights to Antigua and Barbuda.
This achievement, which occurred on Saturday, is significant for the aviation industry and the relationship between the two countries.
The Nigerian government has announced plans to strengthen ties between West Africa and the Caribbean by inviting a group of Nigerian cultural artists to participate in the country’s summer festivities.
These artists were expected to remain on the island for four days, sharing Nigeria’s rich history and culture with the public. There have been reports that some of the artists wanted to stay longer.
“This is the nature of these kinds of business. Even individuals who travel to the US on business, many of them decide not to return home…This is a typical example of resilience in which we are determined to establish a permanent air bridge between Africa and the Caribbean,” he said
Hundreds of Cameroonians arrived in Antigua and Barbuda from Lagos on chartered flights between December 2022 and February 2023.
They were left stranded on the island and eventually left the island illegally.
On one of these voyages, their boat capsized off the coast of St Kitts and Nevis, killing over a dozen of them, mainly from Cameroon. They claimed they were duped into believing they would be taken to the US once they arrived in Antigua and Barbuda.
Many have since left the island, with only a handful remaining in the twin island nation.