FREELAND RESIGNS, BREAKS SILENCE

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After weeks of calls for him to make a statement from various quarters, Senator Michael Freeland has ended his silence on the port authority money scandal.
See his full statement below…
Media Release 19 December, 2017
Statement by Michael Freeland
I am making the following statement to the people of Antigua and Barbuda without prejudice and consistent with my own personal commitment to openness and good governance.
I have noted repeated efforts by members of the opposition parties to impugn improper behaviour to me in relation to the proceeds of an auction which I conducted in my private capacity, as an auctioneer, on behalf of the Customs Department.
I make it clear that there was no impropriety in this matter and that the Customs Department was advised of circumstances beyond my control which prevented me from handing-over the proceeds of the Auction immediately and in full.
Following discussions with the Customs Department, it was agreed that I would make full payment in instalments in an approved timeframe.
Contrary to allegations made by my political protagonists, I am pleased to state categorically that I have made payment in full and to the satisfaction of the Customs Department.
Therefore, there is no issue of failure on my part to satisfy my obligations to the Customs Department. My decision to repay the monies gave some people the false impression that I was involved in wrongdoing.
As an auctioneer, I acted as an agent and was entrusted with a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets for which I was entrusted.
It was and remains my view that my failure to properly do so, should not become a burden on taxpayers and as such I stand by my decision to have made good on that responsibility.
Nonetheless, I have been concerned at the intense efforts by political opponents to politicise this event.
It is obvious to me that, in the absence of a legitimate and credible platform, they are seeking to impugn me and malign the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party of which, like my father before me, I am honoured to be a devoted member.
I am determined that my family’s good name – long a part of our beloved nation’s history – should not be abused in this unseemly and malicious way.
In this context, I am today formally advising His Excellency the Governor-General and the President of the Senate that I am resigning my position as a member of the Senate effective 31 December 2017.
I had already informally advised the Prime Minister and leader of my political party of my decision.
I am sure there will be days in the future where I will regret making this decision but I will take comfort in knowing that I was a true team player and that for a Team to win, and for the higher purpose to be achieved, one’s self interest must be subordinated to that of the Team.
I will take comfort in knowing that I put Party above self to ensure that the important work and progress of all Antiguans and Barbudans are achieved.
My experience in the political arena, has taught me that it is not necessarily the best 17 candidates that will win and election but the best Team of 17.
I wish to advise the leadership of the ABLP, that there will be other distractions on the road to victory but they should remain focus.
I am resigning from the senate but I will continue to be an active member of the ABLP, an activist for change and a champion for a better Antigua and Barbuda.
It has been my distinct honour to serve the people of Antigua and Barbuda as a Senator, and I pledge to continue to work in my personal capacity for my party and my country as has been the case of my entire family.

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