Antigua PM Gaston Browne

Question: “What do you think of Gaston Browne?”

Response: “I think he is crass, I think he is immature.”

The question was posed to the Leader of the United Progressive Party Harold Lovell back in mid-January, ahead of Prime Minister Browne’s UNDP controversy that appears to have left many Antiguans and Barbudans embarrassed and pointing to what is being described as Gaston Browne’s “lack of diplomacy”.

Browne last week Friday accused a team from the United Nations Development Programme of “taking all the credit” for repair work to homes in Barbuda after only contributing “a few sheets of plywood”.

The incident occurred in Barbuda when Browne was there for a tour of homes, the roofs of which were repaired, and for a launch ceremony.

During the tour he saw ‘UNDP-China Aid’ stickers on homes on which the government had worked. The stickers bore two logos; one logo was that of the UNDP and the other said ‘China Aid.

“You come and plaster UNDP sticker all ‘round de place like you did some big large amount of work? That is totally unacceptable,” the prime minister declared there.

A former Parliamentarian for Barbuda has since urged Browne to “show some decorum”, describing the statement as “totally unacceptable”.

That kind of approach by the Antigua and Barbuda prime minister doesn’t surprise his main rival Lovell, who wants to unseat Browne and his Antigua Labour Party at the next general election.

“I think his style of governance has set Antigua back, he has not been able to distinguish between a politician on the corner and a statesman leading an entire country,” Lovell said in an interview on January 18 made available to DNO.

Harold Lovell also quoted comments about Browne made by a former CEO who spoke of “juvenile temper tantrums that the prime minister was wont to engage in. He also referred to the fact that the prime minister at the last meeting of CARICOM heads – he stormed out and left the day the conference was due to start”.

“I don’t think those are the actions of a mature prime minister who has the necessary statesmanship or the qualities of a statesman to really lead Antigua forward,” Lovell concluded.

Asked if he is aware of what Gaston Browne thinks of him, Lovell responded curtly: “I don’t care”.