PM Browne rejects misappropriation claims

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne is accusing the opposition Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) of spreading false information to the international media about the restoration of hurricane-hit Barbuda.
Speaking on his radio station on Saturday, Browne said the BPM has been making allegations of corrupt practices and misuse of funds received from donors to help rebuild Barbuda.
“Within the last couple of days I’ve had no less than perhaps a dozen media organisations globally, primarily from out of the United Kingdom, United States, who’ve been on to me about certain allegations of wrongdoing.
“They have said, for example, that we have diverted funds from the relief efforts to build a new airport. I’ve been accused, as well, of having equipment on the airport site as well as heavy equipment that is doing the cleanup in Barbuda. I do not even know who the operators are, but these are the types of things that members of the BPM are spreading and this propaganda is designed specifically to undermine our fundraising efforts,” Browne stated.
Most of the infrastructure in Barbuda was damaged when Hurricane Irma hit in early September and the government has estimated that it would cost more than U.S. $200 million to rebuild. Browne explained that with no fiscal space to borrow the amount of money required, the country’s only hope rested upon the goodwill of donor countries and that was now being jeopardised by some individuals.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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