The Gaston Browne administration in St John’s Antigua could boycott the Observer Radio, one of the leading stations on the island.
According to reports, it is expected that the matter will be voted on when that country’s weekly Cabinet meeting gets underway on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, along with his Cabinet, made the announcement on Sunday, after the radio station removed the Government’s Chief of Staff from its weekly programming schedule.
Lion Max Hurst would usually appear every Monday morning on the radio station’s Observer A.M program but Managing Director of Observer, Algernon “Serpent” Watts, said on Saturday that Hurst was no longer allowed to use the radio station prime time programming to “spread lies”.
And, in announcing the direct backlash, the prime minister said the removal of Hurst is a removal of all his Cabinet members.
“Serpent has declared war against the ABLP government and has gone as far as seeking to censor our spokesperson. If that’s how the Observer intends to undermine free speech and democracy, I am sure that they will certainly reap the fruits of the seeds of the whirlwind they have sown. The ABLP administration will not have any further engagement with NewsCo, Observer until such time that the lunatistic policy rant of Serpent (Satan) is reversed,” Browne said.
The Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, EP Chet Greene also said on Sunday that he too has taken a personal decision not to appear on Observer platform or speak to any reporter until the company rescinds the decision to ban Max Hurst.
Watts, who is the United Progressive Party’s candidate for St. George constituency said on Monday that Hurst was not banned from calling the radio station, but was simply removed from prime-time programs on the airwaves.
“He is free to call in like everyone else. He used a prime-time spot to come and spread his manure. So, I said enough of that. It wasn’t a one-man decision either…” Watts said.
His response to the threat of a total boycott was, “It will be to their detriment and not to ours. I don’t care.”