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UPP Chair believes air traffic from West Africa should be halted until mechanisms to prevent human smuggling are put in place

The chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), D.Gisele Isaac,
is concerned about statements made by Prime Minister Gaston
Browne, who said, last week, that he will not relent in efforts to
establish an air bridge between the African continent and Antigua
and Barbuda.

Isaac’s worries are the result of the debacle involving the now-
defunct Antigua Airways flight, as well as the recent Air Peace
charter, on which a number of West African visitors reportedly
refused to leave the State claiming they had paid an ambassador
US$1,000 for their stay.

Isaac says it would be unwise to continue this venture until certain
procedures and mechanisms are revised – in order to prevent these
visitors from trying to smuggle themselves into other countries.

She says it would not be fair for Antigua and Barbuda to bring in
persons whose only desire is to travel onward to other countries
seeking refugee status.

Isaac says we should not put ourselves in a position to facilitate
human trafficking or smuggling.

The UPP chairman says the Browne Administration has made no
apparent effort to stop the smuggling following the departure of the
West Africans who arrived here late last year. Nearly all have been
smuggled to US territories and some lost their lives while
attempting to join their countrymen.

Isaac says these instances of smuggling have been taking place for
too long and too often for the Administration not to have a clue
about what is taking place.

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