Despite the negativity associated with the West African chartered flights, Prime Minister Gaston Browne remains adamant that his government will hold steadfast to its commitment to what he says is the noble idea of an air bridge between the African continent and this country.
The Opposition United Progressive Party has blamed the government for its decision to enter into an arrangement with Marvelous Mike for the establishment of Antigua Airways; an air connection between both countries
Although Antigua Airways is not solely responsible for the influx of African migrants who arrived here between November last year and February 2023, the UPP remains unbending, that the government must be blamed
Another flight copied the Antigua Airways connection and route, bringing hundreds of West Africans here with a promise to take them to the United States.
But Browne told Parliament that he will examine putting systems in place to prevent a repeat of what happened.
“We also spoke with other African investors…we have not given up on that noble initiative of establishing an air bridge between Africa and the Caribbean. So, we will have further discussions as to what systems we can put in place to avoid what would have happened in December of last year” he said,
The prime minister also indicated that his government may also have to put policies in place to avoid residents from countries from violent stricken countries in Africa to seek refuge here.
“And we do recognize too that, we’ll have to perhaps have some discriminatory policies in place in the sense that countries in Africa where there is any form of instability, we may just have to have a ban on granting any form of access to the country. So rather than issuing a visa or any visa waivers, we may just have to preclude citizens of those countries to avoid any repeat of such situation” he said
Meanwhile where Antigua Airways is concerned, Browne said recently, he held talks with the owners of the airlines.
“Having spoken to the principals, they have indicated that they are interested in acquiring a couple of planes and sometime in the future to pursue this initiative of establishing the air bridge between Nigeria and Antigua and Barbuda” he added.
The first Antigua Airways flight touched down at the V.C Bird International Airport on November 01, 2022.
The prime minister has also confirmed that his government has no shares currently in the airline.