Casroy James is remaining mum on his resignation from the post as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the government has confirmed he stepped down effective March 31.
His departure comes just days after Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he’d try to convince him (James) to offer an explanation to the public about his relationship with Antigua-based Meinl offshore bank and an individual linked to the multi-billion-dollar Odebrecht money laundering scandal.
Yesterday, PM Browne confirmed James resigned but it was Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst who offered details as to why.
According to Hurst, the resignation, which was done in a three-page document, took effect on March 31 and said James is stepping down “to avoid the swirling accusations and allegations that are aimed at the government”.
Hurst revealed that James’ resignation was discussed in Cabinet before a letter was sent to the governor general conveying his resignation and instructions to revoke his appointment.
On March 25, in an interview on OBSERVER Radio’s Snakepit programme, after answering several questions about James’ relationship with Meinl Bank and monies he received, PM Browne said, “The irony about this is that when these things happen, y’all do not go to the source, y’all come to the prime minister. I will have a word with him (James) to see if I could encourage him to speak to you guys so he could give you all the details.“
Browne also said it would be fair to conclude that he had the power to “direct” James to engage the media on the issue since he’s an ambassador, representing Antigua & Barbuda.
But, upon Browne’s return from Barbuda, where that interview took place, he was reportedly served with James’ resignation, which took effect two days later.
The prime minister is on record saying since there was no investigation about James in the United States or in Brazil, where Odebrecht has its roots, or anywhere else, no investigation was needed by authorities in Antigua for a “mere allegation by a convicted felon”.
At the same time, PM Browne also said when he learned of the matter, he was “concerned” and wanted to take action.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)