St Peter MP says PM went ‘on a tirade’ against him while entourage barred from Executive meeting

Member of Parliament for St Peter, Asot Michael. (file photo)
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By Makeida Antonio

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An Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Member of Parliament has shared his displeasure following a recently held Executive meeting by the party last Friday night.

St Peter MP Asot Michael has accused Prime Minister Gaston Browne of allegedly making distasteful comments against him which carried on for over an hour during the meeting.

“I wouldn’t say it went relatively well at all. In fact, quite the contrary. When I arrived, I sat to the back with Comrade Lennox Weston and the Prime Minister had already started. He was on a tirade and a barrage with insults and innuendoes and levelled a lot of accusations of corruption. He was pretty nasty,” Michael told Observer yesterday.

Despite the underlying tension, however, Michael said he stood firm and said that it was his right to remain in the ABLP.

“I’ve been asked why stay where you’re not wanted and my answer is simple to everyone – that no one man is the Labour Party no matter what position he holds in the party or in the State. The Labour Party does not belong to him. It belongs to the people and we the people must hold him accountable to the fundamental tenets of the party lest we allow a dictatorship to emerge and consume us all,” he commented.

Amid friction between sitting MP Asot Michael and ABLP Leader Prime Minister Browne, an injunction granted Michael access to ABLP Executive meetings despite previous letters by the party’s General Secretary that sought to bar him from doing so.

However, executive members from Michael’s constituency branch were barred from attending the  meeting even though he was allowed to do so.

“I was allowed in; I was invited at about 3:30 on Friday afternoon by the General Secretary and I was only invited because of the temporary interim injunction that ruled in my favour and said they could not hold any Central Executive meetings without me being present,” he said.

Michael hinted that others who claimed to represent his constituency branch should not have been at the meeting.

“However, I carried some of my branch members from the legal branch, the legitimate branch of St Peter’s and they were barred from entering by Comrade [Lionel] Max Hurst. They were told that they were not allowed to come in, so they had to remain outside,” he said.

However, the ABLP’s Sergeant at Arms Lionel Hurst confirmed that Michael’s entourage was barred to discourage what he called “disruptive” behaviour.

“MP Asot Michael brought with him some folks and we did not want them to be disruptive of the meeting, so as they were kept outside. I stayed there to ensure that they did not journey in. He said that he brought his executive, but we said that there were already four members of an executive of the St Peter’s branch and therefore, they couldn’t have that many,” Hurst said on Observer AM yesterday.

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