Group launches crusade to combat smear campaign

A group of citizens has launched its own online promotion on Facebook to counter the smear campaign initiated by the Stanford Victims Coalition against Antigua & Barbuda.

The Antigua Liberal Democratic Union was formed after a group of “like-minded people” decided to do something positive to uplift Antigua.

“It’s a place where you can go and have intelligent conversations about topics that affect Antigua & Barbuda, so we thought that it was good to tackle this particular issue. It’s something that everybody should be up in arms about,” spokesperson Faun Thompson said yesterday.

In recent times, a growing number of residents have expressed concern about government’s inaction to counteract the “Anti-Crime, Anti-Antigua” boycott mission of the Stanford Victims Coalition. That group of former Stanford investors has since gained support from another entity dubbed the Stanford Victims Coalition of Latin America, which has labelled the twin-island nation “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Thompson said reaction to the site has been pretty good, as most people seem to think that the country is being victimised by the so-called victims.

“What we’d like to do is put together some sort of campaign to counteract these venomous attacks because (they) are unwarranted,” he said.

Thompson said the aim of the Facebook page is to mount a counter-campaign to defend the country against what the Stanford Victims Coalition is putting out. This method, he said, could be very effective in countering the negative information they are putting on the Internet.

Petra Williams, another member of Antigua Liberal Democratic Union, said since the coalition has been using every possible medium to project the country in a negative light, citizens should be moved to respond in defence of Antigua & Barbuda.

“Yes, we have the government, but if the government is not being as effective as it should, we need to step up to the plate, because we’re the ones who will be affected,” Williams said yesterday on OBSERVER AM. “When people don’t come to Antigua, it’s our jobs … our livelihoods that are at stake.

“We’re going to use Facebook as the first step, but eventually, we could gather resources and do a website, just like the anti-Stanford coalition,” the group member said. “The intent is, everywhere they put something online, once we find it, we’re going to be positive.

“We’re not going to be bashing them, but if they put up something about Antigua that is negative, we will get the facts, put the facts up, and put something up that’s positive. If we don’t defend, people will just take what they’re seeing, so we want to give persons the other side of the story so that they can begin to have another perspective,” Williams said.

However, Thompson is of the opinion that government should not be pressured to issue a response, but that citizens need to come together to devise ways to tackle the problem.

Williams, on the other hand, was of the view that the counter-campaign should be approached from several fronts. The government, specifically the Ministry of Tourism through its own Facebook page, and Antiguans living abroad who can exert influence from where they are, are two groupings that should be playing a major role in counteracting the negativity, she said.

The Antigua Liberal Democratic Union’s Facebook group currently has 63 members.

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