PM blames political activists for Point riot

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne took to his radio station after his attempts to quell a huge riot in the Point area were unsuccessful.

 In formally addressing the source of outrage displayed by the Point residents, Browne pointed fingers at political activists.

Yesterday, residents of the Villa and Point community barricaded lower North Street in solidarity with their neighbor, Sharon Roberts, who they said was being forced out of her Booby Alley home.

In statements on his radio station, Browne accused political activists of spreading the rumors that caused the upheaval.

“The propaganda that the political activists have been perpetuating is that we are moving [the people] out and will not return them; that I want the land for myself and all sorts of foolishness, and it is just totally untrue,” Browne said.

He continued, saying: “Unfortunately in this business, it is being spooked by members of the opposition and what they are seeking to do here is to gain political mileage at the expense of the people. I keep telling the people of Antigua and Barbuda that people like Alister, Serpent, Harold Lovell; they are not fighting for the people, they are fighting for themselves.”

When OBSERVER media arrived on the scene of the said commotion, villagers and members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda were in a heated war of words after it was reported that the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) arrived earlier that morning and disconnected the electricity from the home of Sharon Roberts.

According to reports, Roberts and other residents of Booby Alley received letters of notice earlier this week stating that they would be moved from the area to another location, so that preparations could begin for the proposed Booby Alley housing project. However, Roberts believes she was a victim of unfairness.

“Me feel Gaston Browne is a good man, but he advantage me because me have a little daughter in a wheel chair and everything and he advantage me…why my house first?” Roberts said in frustration.

Browne later explained on his radio program that Roberts was the first to be moved because, “We didn’t want to have any wholesale movement so we are doing it individually.

“We have been consulting with the family there that is now creating commotion on the imminent move of the property to a new site in Villa. We have prepared that site, they are fully aware. We said to them the day before the night of the move that we will have to disconnect the electricity for the property so that we can effect the move, and that in the interim we will put them up at a hotel property.  In fact, we had made arrangements at Joe Mike’s so that they could be accommodated overnight with the understanding that APUA will then move very quickly tomorrow to reconnect the electricity for the property at the new site,” Browne added.

Prime Minister Browne further stated that, “One of the reasons why we targeted this family to be the first; first of all, they are right on the perimeter, and secondly, the house that they live in is a house built by the government of Antigua and Barbuda as a gift to them, because before they were living under very squalid conditions.”

The other members of the Roberts family and many of the residents also believe that Roberts was specifically targeted because she lives directly in front of the XCAPE Bar and Restaurant which is owned and operated by the Prime Minister’s family.

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