by Caribbean News Now contributor
ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The Supreme Court of Justice in the Dominican Republic has moved swiftly to denounce a forged document recently circulated on social media by the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), claiming that Prime Minister Gaston Browne was the subject of an extradition order.
The statement issued by the court in Spanish is translated as follows:
Dominican Republic, Supreme Court of Justice
To Whom It May Concern
I, Cristiana A. Rosario V., Secretary General of the Supreme Court of Justice, Certify: That being 08:00am on the twentieth (20th) day of the month of March 2018, and after verifying our files we can confirm that there is no record in this Secretariat of the Supreme Court of Justice, in the name of Mr Gaston Browne, Antiguan, of legal age, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, holder of the passport No. DA000007, of any pending litigation, for or against the same, as of today’s date.
The present is issued in Santo Domingo, National District, today twentieth (20th) March 2018, at the request of the interested party. Exempt from the payment of receipts and stamps of the General Internal Revenue Tax (DGII).
(signed) Cristiana A. Rosario V.
Supreme Court of Justice
On Monday, the Antigua-Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) strongly condemned what it described as “the wicked, low and desperate distribution of fake news by the UPP”.
As part of a last minute flurry of claims and counterclaims on the eve of Wednesday’s general elections in Antigua and Barbuda, the ABLP accused the Observer Media Group’s chief operating officer Darren Derrick of being “extremely economical with the truth”.
“First, at no time did the ABLP ask for any discount from the Observer Group. We challenge Mr Derrick to produce the evidence of that blatant untruth.
“Second, we maintain that the quality of the service that we received from the Observer Group was poor and its reactions to complaints were rude, offensive and extremely haughty.
“Third, the bias of the Observer Group against the ABLP was glaringly evident at all times, particularly when it shared the ABLP ads with the public relations officer of the UPP is advance of publishing them.
“Fourth, the Observer Group claimed that ABLP ads were defamatory. Yet, when asked to provide the evidence or legal opinion asserting such defamation, it did not once do so.
“Fifth, the ABLP pulled its ads from the Observer Group because we contracted with it to provide a service that it failed to do.
“Sixth, the faction of the Derrick family that manipulates the Observer Group attempts to clothe themselves in sanctimonious righteousness while using their privileged position as the only newspaper in Antigua and Barbuda to peddle their own prejudiced agenda,” the ABLP said in a statement.
One of the ads that the Observer Group refused to carry on the basis of defamation is one that responded to a billboard that represented a six-year old child as saying that he can’t wait for his parents to die so that he can take over.
“Our ad deplored the violation of a child and called for decency and respect, important values in our society. The ad did not mention the name of one person or organization. Yet the Observer Group claimed that it was defamatory.
“The Observer Group is not an unbiased reporter of truth and fact; its staff members are compelled to toe a Derrick line. To claim to be anything else is to trample on truth. Little wonder that its newspaper circulation has dwindled; its publication has been reduced to three times a week; and its radio audience has lost market share.
“The Observer Group fooled some of the people some of the time. People know better than to continue to be fooled. That is why the Observer Group is collapsing,” the ABLP said.
The ABLP also released a photo of a bus that was given to the government of Antigua and Barbuda by the government of South Korea for transporting school children.
Former UPP minister and opposition candidate in Wednesday’s elections, Wilmoth Daniel, allegedly misappropriated the bus, registered it in his own name, and converted it into a mobile strip club and place of prostitution.
“The bus is in the compound of the police station on American Road and can be viewed by anyone who believes these pictures are fake. And this man wants us to trust good governance of our country to him,” the ABLP said.
Finally, in response to false claims that he did not file a complaint with the police, Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, the present minister of foreign affairs and immigration, who is an ABLP candidate in the general elections, released confirmation of receipt from the commissioner of police, Wendel Robinson.
Fernandez’s letter to the police and the director of public prosecutions provided evidence of money transfers to opposition candidate Dr McChesney Emanuel and a sworn affidavit claiming fraud by Emanuel with the collusion of current leader of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, while he was finance minister in the previous UPP government.