The Government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, said that the recent allegations of corruption concerning MP Asot Michael will have no serious effect on the country’s international image. His comment was a response to statements made by the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), Akaash Maharaj.
Following the allegations against Michael, Maharaj said that Antigua and Barbuda may now be faced with serious hurdles with respect to international funding for projects.
Hurst responded in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media yesterday by declaring, “The single act of a single minister of government cannot define an entire state. If that were so, then every single state in the world would be deemed a corrupt state.
“Some fellow speaking on the telephone to another person, and he gets caught demanding a kickback of some sort and it doesn’t happen. That is going to determine our international image?” he scoffed.
Hurst explains that he does not believe that the country’s international image would be tarnished because of the alleged shake-down contained in a taped conversation in which Michael makes several requests of British businessman, Peter Virdee
In the conversation, Michael demanded money, a car and campaign financing
Maharaj said that Antigua and Barbuda could be victimised as other people and international institutions might not wish to give the country aid, and other international businesses might be reluctant to invest, and that could cause a downward spiral.