PM extends olive branch for Independence

Prime Minister Gaston Browne was the guest of honour at the Five Islands Primary School in 2017, where he spoke with third and sixth grade students. The PM encouraged students to be serious about their education in order to build Antigua & Barbuda and live successful lives. (Photo by Maurice Merchant/Office of the Prime Minister)

By Elesha George

The head of government is holding out an olive branch to demonstrators who participated in last Thursday’s Independence Solidarity March.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has invited the Faith Nationals Coalition to stand in solidarity with the rest of the nation, as a show of their “patriotism” and “respect” for Antigua and Barbuda.

“I say to them that the week of our Independence cannot be an appropriate time for protestation. I say to them that that is an unfaithful act to disrespect our country’s Independence. I say to them that they ought to join us on November 1st, they should show their loyalty, their patriotism to this state and to join us in celebrating our 38th Anniversary of Independence,” Browne touted, speaking, perhaps for the first time publicly on the Independence Solidarity March, which was meant to highlight what the group described as the poor governance of his own administration.

Browne said the amalgamated group should look beyond political party preference and instead redouble its efforts to build a “truly united Antigua and Barbuda”.

“We know that there will always be political differences but political differences should not cause us to tear down our country; political differences should not cause us to disrespect our independence and I call upon those who call themselves Faithful Nationals to respect our country’s independence,” he added.

He concluded by calling on all citizens to show “…faithfulness not for unfaithfulness. I call for camaraderie, not for division; I call for upliftment of this country, not to tear down our country; I call for unity and I call for the collective efforts of all Antiguans and Barbudans.”