The Hon. Winston Baldwin Spencer categorically denies firing Dr. Isaac Newton from his post as ambassador during the UPP administration, as falsely asserted by Prime Minister Gaston Browne in a release from his office.
The March 20, 2017 release appeared in the Caribbean Times and subsequently surfaced on various social media.
Titled "Prime Minister’s Response to Observer Big Issues Program," the release cited me, Baldwin Spencer, as having fired Dr. Newton for "misconduct" and "certain wrongdoing" when he served as a diplomat of Antigua and Barbuda. This statement is false, baseless and unsound in principle.
Dr. Newton was appointed Ambassador-at-Large at no cost to the State. He represented our country with high esteem, which was befitting of his Seventh-Day Adventist values, distinguished academic training, and solid global experience. On a wide variety of national, regional and international issues, Dr. Newton was, and continues to be, known for commentary which confronts with unsettling insights, uncompromising balance and unconventional forthrightness.
Since his return to private life, I have highly recommended his professional services to other governments and political parties when asked to do so.
Gaston Browne’s false statement, therefore, cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged in the public domain. It is disingenuous, frivolous, and downright dishonorable for the PM to use his high office to attack a private citizen with whom he disagrees on the INCSR 2017 US Report.
Clearly, Browne’s approach does not lessen the challenges outlined in the INCSR 2017 Report. In my view, the PM could have chosen to employ a more compelling diplomatic strategy that would raise Antigua & Barbuda’s de-risking profile. If our twin-island State is to prosper in the global marketplace, we have to employ the most credible tools of statecraft to get good results.
In this instance, and on other occasions, Gaston Browne underestimates the capacity of others to decipher what he is really doing when he claims that he is fighting for the rights of Antigua & Barbuda. Any such fight cannot, at the same time, put at risk the inalienable rights and protections of private citizens.
Leadership is not just a matter of practicality, strategy and personality. It is also a matter of substance. It displays moderation, emotional maturity, and international best practices, as well.
At this critical juncture in the country’s history, Gaston Browne cannot afford to fight the wrong fight, with the wrong tools, in the name of defending our people’s rights. The PM owes it to every resident and citizen of Antigua & Barbuda to speak the truth.
Hon. Winston Baldwin Spencer, M.P.
Leader of the Opposition