ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, announced today that he advised his Governor General to immediately revoke the appointment of Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism and Investment, pending the outcome of his arrest Monday morning by the London Metropolitan Police.
Michael, who has lead responsibility for Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by investment (CBI) programme, was reportedly en route to Cannes to speak at a CBI conference. Prime Minister Browne was en route to Antigua from Montenegro, where he also led a government delegation to an international conference on citizenship by investment, at the time of Michael’s arrest.
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 that Mr. Michael was arrested on his arrival in the UK 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 revoke immediately his appointment as a Cabinet member and to relieve him of all Ministerial portfolios until this matter is resolved,” the Prime Minister said.
Browne added: “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, 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.”
Michael has held the St. Peter constituency for the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party since 2004, having previously served as Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Lester Bird, and then Minister of Public Works, Communications and Energy, and later Minister of Finance and Leader of Government Business in the Senate.
Michael’s family controls several businesses in Antigua, and he previously made headlines after donating over EC$540,000 to hurricane relief efforts in Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria.
This is a developing story. AMG will update as further details concerning the former Minister’s detention come to hand.
Image credit: Antigua & Barbuda Tourism. Pictured (L-R) Hon. Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Gaston Browne, Prime Minister; Sir Rodney Williams, Governor-General; Hon. Chet Greene, Minister of Culture.