ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Chairman and Deputy Political Leader of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), Gaston Browne, has stated unequivocally that he would not be intimidated into siding with his party’s stance on the on going Wadadli Power Plant saga, despite threats levelled against him.
“I was actually threatened to the effect that if I didn’t take the position that the engines were used, they would do all in their power to malign and to undermine and to discredit,” Browne said of unidentified individuals on the Snakepit this weekend.
Browne fired back at those whom he claimed threatened him.
“As I said to those individuals then, and I’m saying to them again, and this time publically, don’t push me to expose the paid mercenaries; those who have been recruited and paid to say that the engines are used. Just do not push me.”
Last week, an email from Vere Bird III, attorney and one of the leaders of the Lone Wolf Protestors, claim that certain ALP “leadership have been muzzled by the UPP and the Chinese for economical reasons” and were accepting bribes.
Although Browne was not expressly named as one of the “leadership” in Bird’s email, it is widely believed that he is the person being addressed pursuant to his refusal to support the party’s blanket stance that the plant’s engines are used.
The ALP chairman responded to claims – seemingly levelled against him by his own party – that he has been compromised, saying, “If they have any information that they would like to make available to the public to suggest that I am compromised in any way, I would suggest that they do so immediately.
He added, “There is no way that Gaston Browne would compromise his integrity for a few thousand dollars.”
However, Browne stands by his position that he will neither support nor denounce the condition of the engines without definitive proof to support the claim.
“I have literally taken the moral high ground on this issue by not permitting myself to descend into any position that I cannot prove … I have not seen any conclusive evidence to determine whether or not the engines are new or used. In essence, I have reserved my position until such time as the evidence becomes available,” Browne said.
The deputy political leader noted that he has spoken to Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) technicians and Chinese Ambassador, Liu Hanming, who all assured him that the plant engines were indeed new.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)