Minster of Foreign Affairs, E.P. Chet Greene, has condemned a post on the website, Antigua Newsroom, about Venezuelan military aircraft in Antigua, as “utterly absurd and ridiculous”.
The post was written by a Mr. Audley Phillip, who is not known to be a journalist or an expert in matters related to Venezuela. Yet, on August 19th, Mr. Phillip wrote a post falsely alleging that “two different Venezuela aircraft made landings at V.C. Bird International Airport recently”. Phillip went on to write the entirely malicious allegation that, “The Antigua Government has yet to give a reason for the aircraft’s visit but concerned individuals wondered aloud if the Antigua Government is helping its friendly ally to hide and store some of their wealth in preparation for Maduro’s departure”.
Foreign Minister Greene declared that, “normally, the government of Antigua and Barbuda would treat this spurious post by someone, clearly seeking relevance, with the contempt it deserves. However, in an age of prevalent fake news and bogus writers, such as Audley Phillip, my ministry has decided to expose his evil mischief”.
Minister Greene explained the facts of the matter as follows:
“No Venezuelan military planes landed in Antigua. What did land in Antigua on 15th and 16th August was a Transcarga International Airways flight carrying cargo for Cricket West Indies, the governing body for cricket in the West Indies. The government of Antigua and Barbuda had nothing to do with the chartered aircraft whose main activity is the regular shipping of cargo.
Cricket West Indies chartered Transcarga International Airways, which is a Venezuelan airline, to transport broadcasting equipment from Trinidad to Antigua for the West Indies versus India test match which is slated to be played at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium from August 22nd to 26th.
The plane is also chartered by Cricket West Indies to arrive in Antigua on August 27th to transport the equipment to the next venue of the West Indies versus India cricket match”.
Minster Greene stated that he is making public the airline’s cargo manifest and its airway bill for general scrutiny by releasing them with his public statement.
The Minister denounced Mr. Audley Phillip as “a fraud whose evil-intentioned post on the website of Antigua Newsroom could have caused the country and the people of Antigua and Barbuda irreparable harm”.
Minister Greene reminded that Antigua and Barbuda is a nation where freedom of the press is upheld and respected, but he cautioned Antigua Newsroom “not to allow itself to be used by failures such as Audley Philip who has taken to manufacturing false information in a desperate effort for recognition”.
The Minister concluded that “If Antigua Newsroom continues to publish such false and malicious postings, it will ruin any credibility or integrity that it might wish to have”.