By Elesha George
The president of a local medical school has accused Minister Chet Greene of forcibly and illegally accessing the school’s property on Sunday.
Dr Adedayo Akande, of the University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA) campus, claimed the minister forcibly entered the property on April 3 accompanied by a police officer and six other people believed to have interests in the property.
“There was no communication by the minister to the university prior to the visit,” he told Observer.
Security camera footage appears to show Minister Greene pacing back and forth and gesturing at the entrance of the building until a security guard opens the gate to let him in.
He then gets into his car and drives into the property where the group is shown around by the minister.
Two hours later, they all leave but not before the security guard on duty said several remarks were made to indicate that the visitors might have been interested in taking over the property.
In the written statement, the security also reported that the minister said he would “pound off the gate lock” if he could not enter after security staff initially denied them entry.
He then claimed that the minister told him that he had a police officer on the way.
He said while he accompanied the visitors around the property, they broke their verbal agreement by entering several restricted areas.
Dr Akande said he spoke to the minister over the phone who apparently denied that others were with him.
“He was unaware that he was on camera as he denied any individuals were there. However, we watched them go throughout our school and offices,” he said.
“We told our security that he must keep them in his sight at all times since they forcefully came in.”
At the conclusion of the visit, the security said in his statement that he heard the minister ask the visitors if they liked what they saw and told them he would wait for them to come back with their decision so that they could move forward.
It is unclear what the motive behind the visit was, since Dr Akande told Observer that despite previous Cabinet notes stating that the campus had closed, they have remained operational, albeit online, during the pandemic.
“We are operational and there have never been talks of outsourcing, moving or closing. We have been in Antigua for more than 40 years now,” he explained.
“The land is a very long-term lease, established in the 1980s when we started. All buildings are private property.
“Currently we have approximately 200 students in our medical programme. Similar to other schools, students spend two years in Antigua, and the remaining two years in hospitals abroad.”
Observer reached out to Minister Greene for his side of the story, however, he reiterated that unless government spokesman Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst is “back on the radio”, he would not speak with Observer.
Meanwhile, Dr Akande, who is also the school’s chairman, has filed a police report about the incident and is looking at taking legal action.
He also claimed that this has happened once before with a different minister who attempted to access the premises unannounced.
“At the time, he was attempting to enter the premises with some individuals who were of South Asian descent, possibly India. At the time, he was seeking to do an unexpected site visit, which isn’t a thing. We allowed only him to enter, and not the individuals who were unknown,” he added.