MP Asot Michael and ABLP continue to square off – this time over ‘harassment’ allegations

PM Gaston Browne and Asot Michael MP (right) continue to trade accusations
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St Peter MP and Labour Party (ABLP) member Asot Michael continues to deny recent allegations levelled against him, being widely circulated via social media.

The issue has now become politically charged with the MP claiming he was set up by his own party.

A 25-year-old man is said to have filed a complaint against the MP on Tuesday night – the nature of which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

However, in a press statement released on Thursday evening, the MP chronicled his side of Tuesday night’s events, claiming that at no point was he alone with the person, who was apparently assisting him medically.

Michael claims the accusation of harassment made to the police is “unfounded, totally false and extremely defamatory”.

In the statement, Michael alleged that he was being “set up” by ABLP members, and even claimed Prime Minister Gaston Browne was personally involved.

The relationship between the ABLP’s executive and the embattled MP has been rocky for some time and has escalated in recent months.

In October the party’s General Secretary, Mary-Claire Hurst, wrote to Michael informing him that he had been barred from attending future meetings.

However, in November, Michael secured an interim injunction which temporarily stops the party from preventing him from attending executive meetings.

The government hit back at Michael’s accusations in a press statement of their own issued from the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday morning.

The statement claimed that it is the MP’s “normal practice whenever his behaviour becomes public knowledge, to cast himself as a victim and to falsely and maliciously accuse others of conspiring against him in the hopes of distracting from his alleged wrongful deeds”.

The government sought to make it clear that “no one in the government, including the Prime Minister, was aware of the complaint against Michael until it was made to the police and the information was circulated in the public domain”.

The release further stated that there are “aspects of the St Peter MP’s statement concerning the Prime Minister which are defamatory on their face and legal advice will be sought and appropriate action taken”.

The government’s statement included additional allegations which cannot be repeated for legal reasons.

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party also issued a statement, denying involvement in the matter.

Michael resigned as Minister of Trade and Investment in 2018 after allegations surfaced that he had sought bribes from a British investor the year before. He has vehemently denied doing so and has previously asserted that his relationship with PM Browne soured because he questioned the source of Browne’s own wealth.

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