By Carlena Knight
United Progressive Party (UPP) political hopeful Gregory “Driftwood” Athill is threatening to take some course of action against an unnamed radio host whom he is accusing of “assassinating” his character.
The radio host, Athill said, allegedly made the comments on the UPP-affiliated Progressive FM radio station, formerly Crusader Radio.
He added that he has contacted an attorney even though a public apology was issued on radio last week.
“The issue that happened on the radio on Tuesday, I am not accepting that apology. I actually got all the clips and those clips have been handed over to my lawyer and he will decide how he [will] go forward from there. You don’t go out and try to damage people name,” Athill stated.
“Bear in mind, I am the general secretary for the National Taxi Association and the Public Transportation Union and it doesn’t sound right to hear the things that were said on that radio station by the host. As I like to tell my daughter, if you have a bag of small papers and you drive from English Harbour to town, you let those papers go, you will never find those papers again going back. That means when you throw things out there, you can’t take them back up and it means anybody who is a host at a radio station must be responsible for people calling in on the radio, and you as a host [it’s] the same thing. I am not going to leave it there. I am upset about it and when I look in my daughter’s eyes and see my daughter crying based on what was said on the radio, then I am not going to leave it there,” he added during an Observer AM interview yesterday.
Even though Athill did not reveal the name of the host of the Progressive FM programme, Observer media was able to contact the individual, who indicated that the comments had not been made on air but during an off-mic conversation instead.
The popular host noted, however, that he has since apologised publicly and would rather not discuss the matter further.
Athill, the UPP caretaker for the Constituency of St Paul, has been at loggerheads which his colleagues for quite some time.
The situation took a turn for the worse weeks ago after he spoke out about perceived unfairness in the process through which the party selects a candidate to represent its interest in a general election.
Last week, Athill penned a letter to the party’s St Paul Branch, and officially withdrew from the primary to select the party’s election nominee, citing several reasons to include what he termed “10 months of stress” and disappointment in the process done.
He is of the opinion that he would not have been named as the candidate for St Paul even if he would have won the primary.
“The last couple of weeks leading up to the primary, it got even worse; the party and the administration is stacked up against me, fighting against me. There are a lot of senior people in my party and there are also people in the branch that if the establishment says east, they are going to go east. Now if you are depending on people to come and support you and a day before a primary you [it is] being alleged that you are taking money for this and money for that, how would people think of you?” he queried.
“At the end of the day, they are concerned about the seat; winning the seat. They said ‘at the end of the day you are going to win the primary, you are going to be vetoed and then you are going to run independently’. I guess they are going to be saying I wouldn’t have been the candidate. I have sat in meetings and I was told ‘even though you win the primary, the party has a right to veto you’.”
Therefore, Athill said, he threw his support behind his cousin Dr Cleon Athill, whom he believes is a good fit for the party and is capable of doing some great work within the constituency.
During the 2018 general elections, Athill contested the St Paul seat on behalf of the UPP, but was defeated by the current Member of Parliament EP Chet Greene of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party.
The next general elections is constitutionally due in 2023.