(CNS) – The Antigua and Barbuda government Wednesday condemned media reports that a Venezuelan military aircraft had arrived in Antigua possibly carrying the wealth of some people associated with Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
Foreign Affairs Minister E.P. Chet Greene described the media reports as “utterly absurd and ridiculous,” noting that the article in question was written by someone “who is not known to be a journalist or an expert in matters related to Venezuela”.
He said the writer 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”.
In his statement, Greene said 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…my ministry has decided to expose his evil mischief”.
Greene said that “no Venezuelan military planes landed in Antigua” but on August 15 and 16, a Transcarga International Airways flight carrying cargo for Cricket West Indies, the governing body for cricket in the West Indies, landed here.
“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.”
Greene said that 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”.
Greene also released the airline’s cargo manifest and its airway bill for general scrutiny and denounced the online publication writer as “a fraud whose evil-intentioned post …could have caused the country and the people of Antigua and Barbuda irreparable harm”.
Greene reminded that Antigua and Barbuda is a nation where freedom of the press is upheld and respected, but he cautioned the online publication, “not to allow itself to be used by failures …who has taken to manufacturing false information in a desperate effort for recognition
Prime Minister Gaston Browne had last week dismissed the allegations saying that the island is aware of the embargo placed on Venezuela by the United States which is leading the efforts to remove Maduro from office and replace him with Opposition Leader Juan Guaido.