Asot meets the PM, visits ABLP colleagues

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MP Asot Michael is still considered a “comrade” and “a friend” by Prime Minister Gaston who yesterday entertained his (Michael’s) “courtesy call” at his office for the first time since he (Michael) returned to Antigua last week Wednesday.
PM Browne met the former tourism minister in the afternoon while OBSERVER media was at the leader’s office awaiting an interview.
And while MP Michael was interacting with colleagues as he awaited “a ride” to leave the office after that meeting, the prime minister confirmed that the scope of the visit was merely because, “We are still comrades, he is still a friend and a member of the labour party. However, no issue of government was discussed, just a courtesy call.”
He also confirmed that MP Michael no longer has access to a government vehicle like he did when he held the posts of Minister of Tourism, Energy, Economic Development and Investment – hence the reason the MP was waiting for someone to pick him up.
“If you are a parliamentarian who has an executive position in the government, you can definitely have access to a government vehicle or be eligible. If you are a parliamentarian without any executive position then you are not eligible,” the PM explained.
No grace period was given to MP Michael to get his own vehicle, as PM Browne said all the perks were immediately ended from the time the revocation of his appointment took effect.
Right now, MP Michael’s primary role is to answer to his constituents as well as to advocate on their behalf in and out of parliament.
The prime minister said he hopes that the MP would not be charged by U.K. officials investigating the alleged bribe for which they were questioning Michael last month. He said that if that happens before the end of November when the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party’s convention is due, Michael’s candidacy will be reviewed.
Michael returned to Antigua on Wednesday after being arrested in the U.K. on October 23. He was released the same day, and according to a document sent to the U.K. Foreign Office, charges have not been ruled out.
While Michael never specified what he was accused of, Prime Minister Browne has said publicly that the U.K. authorities are investigating Michael in connection with an alleged conspiracy to bribe, and it involves a yet to be named U.K. investor who was seeking contracts in the Caribbean.
Michael declined comment when approached by OBSERVER media yesterday.

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