Antigua St John's - On Tuesday, residents picketed the Chinese Embassy in Antigua, demanding the release of public documents and calling for accountability and transparency in government.
"The Financial Administrative Act passed by the Baldwin Spencer government clearly states that they have to seek parliamentary approval before there are any debts assigned to the public in the Consolidated Fund," one picketer said. "Before, not after."
Others expressed doubt about APUA's knowledge of the deal, and the condition of the engines.
"And if you notice too, they were not able to say the generators are new until the Chinese said so," another picketer said. "So what happened to our people? Don't they know when generators are new? He clearly violates the law that his government passed, plus the section of the constitution that deals with financial control."
In response to the protest, the Prime Minister's Office issued a press release condemning the "mercenaries" and "convicted criminals," who are known associates of the opposition Antigua Labour Party.
The release said, "The Office of the Prime Minister views this attack by these known mercenaries and convicted criminals within the Antigua Labour Party as a strategy to destabilize the relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China, particularly as they relate to the number of projects being undertaken by the Chinese Government in Antigua and Barbuda."
The press release also said that Ambassador to China David Shoul and his Chinese counterpart, Ambassador Liu Hanming, would continue to work on "how best the Chinese Government can serve the nation of Antigua and Barbuda".
The release is reprinted below in full:
Opposition Antigua Labour Mercenaries Attack Relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China
The Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday condemned an attack on the excellent relations between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China by a known group of mercenaries within the Opposition Antigua Labour Party.
On Tuesday, a group of known supporters of the Opposition Antigua Labour Party armed with placards and loudspeakers congregated a few feet away from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Marble Hill and verbally attacked the Chinese claiming their involvement in the politics of Antigua and Barbuda, corruption and making reference to the New Wadadli Power Plant at Crabbes constructed by the Chinese Government.
The Office of the Prime Minister views this attack by these known mercenaries and convicted criminals within the Antigua Labour Party as a strategy to destabilize the relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China, particularly as they relate to the number of projects being undertaken by the Chinese Government in Antigua and Barbuda.
Prime Minister Spencer however pointed out that Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Sir David Shoul will continue to work with his counterpart Ambassador Liu Hanming in delivering on a number of projects in the interest of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and no demonstration by questionable characters within the Antigua Labour Party will stop them. “
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