Tuesday’s boat tragedy that claimed the lives of 16 Africans who were living on the twin island of Antigua and Barbuda will not be a responsibility of the government says Melford Nicholas, Information Minister.
Nicholas who was speaking at a press conference on Thursday (March 30) said: “The fact that they, of their own volition, seemingly would have decided to embark on this initiative, the government, the government can take no responsibility.”
A vessel transporting 32 passengers including two Antiguans capsized off the coast of St Kitts in the early hours of Tuesday morning claiming the lives of 16 Africans.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda confirmed earlier this week that the Africans arrived on the island as tourists between November and January 2023 by Antigua Airways.
However, the Information Minister noted that while Antigua Airways transported the migrants to the twin island, there was another operator which transported Africans to the island without previous engagement with the government but instead exploited a route that was already created between Nigeria and Antigua.
The United Progressive Party in a statement on Thursday said that the government is attempting to wash their hands of the matter.
“The United Progressive Party categorically condemns the Gaston Browne Administration’s assertion that it accepts no responsibility for the West African migrant’s boat tragedy,” the UPP said.
The UPP further stated that the migrants did not set out to stay on the island but were stranded due to the government’s complacency.
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday (March 28) promised a full investigation into the circumstances of the illegal transportation of Africans.