ANTIGUA (CNS)-Asot Michael, the Parliamentary Representative of St Peter’s, has announced that he has submitted a letter of resignation as a Minister to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, effective from May 15, 2018. He apparently decided to step down as a result of UK court hearings over alleged bribery in Caribbean contracts, something in which he claims he has had no part.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Michael stated: “I am aware that recent media reports, emerging from Court proceedings in the United Kingdom, to which I am not a party, have caused anxiety in some quarters of our society and are being used by opposition political elements to seek to discredit me and the Government.

I emphasize that I am not a party to the Court proceedings in the United Kingdom which have been reported in the media, nor have I been charged with any wrong doing.   The media reports refer to recordings of conversations between persons other than myself, and I cannot be held responsible for their utterances”.

Declaring that “The interests of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda are, and have always been, of preeminent concern to me throughout my political life”, Michael told the Prime Minister, “ I have not worked so diligently over the last 21 years for the advancement of Antigua and Barbuda, and in support of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, to allow the reputation and standing of the Nation and the Party to be tarnished by political actors who are determined to pull down the Government and the Party by besmirching me.”

In this connection, Michael advised Prime Minister Browne that, with effect from May 15 2018, he will resign the Ministerial offices to which he was appointed “to allow the Government to fulfill its obligations to the people, without any distraction”.

Demonstrating the resilience that has been a characteristic of his political life, Michael also stated that he “will continue to work assiduously in the interest of the people of my constituency, and do all in my power to counter and disprove allegations made against me”

In a fighting mood, Michael ended, “I am determined that the calumnies against me shall not stand.”

Michael resigned after the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) had called on Prime Minister Gaston Browne to dismiss him.