Government of Antigua and Barbuda Responds to Observer Newspaper Article
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 16th June 2015 …….The statements made by the Leader of the Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) and reported in the Observer Newspaper and Observer Online of June 13 in relation to Ambassador Xiao are misleading and fail to reflect the facts.
Ambassador Xiao introduced investors in the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) as strategic investors to promote the business development of the oil industry. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has done all the necessary due diligence with respect to the investors and ensured the transparency of the investment in the interest of both the Government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda. In addition, both the investors and the Government have retained major international law firms to review key aspects of the transaction.
The entire transaction relating to WIOC will comply with all legal requirements, both in Antigua and Barbuda as well as, where relevant, the laws of the United Kingdom. As negotiations progress, the Government will inform the public from time to time on the details of the transaction
The statements made by Mr. Lovell, as reported in the Observer article, are unverified and false. The Government respects the Freedom of the Press but also reminds the Observer Group of the importance of reporting in a fair and balanced manner and would recommend that in future, the Observer Group should invite an official response from the Government when quoting statements made by the Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) on the public platform or through the press. The people of Antigua and Barbuda deserve responsible reporting by the press on matters so fundamental to the economy and investors who bring new opportunities for job creation and growth.
The Government therefore advises, that before printing further statement, whether editorial or reports on third party claims, related to Ambassador Xiao or any other official within the Foreign Service, the Editor of the newspaper should invite a response and comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, under whose responsibility all ambassadorial appointments are handled.
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