Antigua Prime Minister’s Ukraine comments conflict with US embassy bid: commentator

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

By Robert A Emmanuel, Antigua Observer

Political and social commentator Stafford Lewis has criticised Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s recent comments on the Russia-Ukraine war which he said appear obstructive to the government’s intent to persuade the US to establish an embassy in Antigua.

Speaking on his radio station on Saturday, Browne said he had told the new US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Roger Nyhus, who made his first visit to the island last week, that Ukraine’s bid to join NATO was “senseless” and that it should surrender to Russia.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PRIME MINISTER’S COMMENTS

Lewis questioned why the Prime Minister would depart from established diplomatic stances on the Russia-Ukraine war, including that of his Ambassador to the US, Sir Ronald Sanders, and Foreign Minister EP Chet Greene.

“It puts us in a very dangerous situation and especially now that we’re looking to forge a new relationship with the new ambassador from the United States.

“If we want to woo this embassy from the United States, to be seated in Antigua, we have to be very careful as to how we posture ourselves with our alignment to China and Russia,” Lewis argued.

Browne said that he couldn’t envision doing what the Ukrainian President has done, which he said was to “subject my people and my country to the kind of destruction to be part of NATO”.

Lewis said, as a nation with democratic principles, the Prime Minister should not be making “rogue comments”.

“Any lucid-thinking person who stands for democracy and, let’s face it, we are a democracy—aligned with all the democratic organisations starting with the OECS, the British Commonwealth, the OAS — so how do we step out to go rogue and to be making such a statement, especially coming from our Prime Minister?” he noted.

Lewis said unless Browne made the comments thinking that the US would be more inclined to establish an embassy on the island to “offset our alignment with China”, he could not understand the statement.

“I just think it is the whole China dependency, and using China and Russia, who have a nexus, to influence his thought process,” the political commentator added.

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