October 23, 2017
Photo: Asot Michael
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (Caribbean News Now) — The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has announced the immediate suspension from the Cabinet of tourism and investment minister, Asot Michael, pending the outcome of his arrest on Monday morning by the Metropolitan Police in London.
Browne is presently in Jordan on his way back to Antigua from Montenegro where he led a government delegation to an international conference on global citizenship.
The prime minister advised that he received news from Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner in London, Karen-Mae Hill, that she had been informed by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office that Michael was arrested on his arrival in England on Monday morning.
“While I have no firm details of the reasons for Mr Michael’s arrest, the arrest itself is sufficient for me to suspend him immediately as a Cabinet member and to relieve him of all his ministerial portfolios until this matter is resolved one way or the other,” Browne said.
The prime minister declared: “I have repeatedly stated that I expect every member of my government to comply with the highest possible standards required of public office, and while Mr Michael might establish his innocence in time, the fact that he has been arrested now, obliges me to relieve him of all government duties.”
“I undertake to release other information regarding Mr Michael’s arrest as it is brought to my attention,” he added.
UPDATE: The government of Antigua and Barbuda has now been advised by Michael’s attorney, James Guthrie, that his client was detained and questioned upon arrival at Gatwick Airport. He has since been released. The government will issue another statement when further information becomes available.