The Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst has dismissed a claim by Leader of the Opposition Baldwin Spencer, denying having any part in “arranging” an “exchange of honors” in the Knighthood scandal.
Following a publication in the ‘Daily Mail’ by the United Kingdom stating that they are displeased with one Anthony Bailey for referring to himself as ‘Sir’ after being knighted in Antigua, a title he was not qualified for in the UK, Spencer via a press release on Monday distanced himself from allegations that the knighthood was arranged during the tenure of the UPP.
According to the United Progressive Party’s Public Relations Officer Demarni Tabor, Spencer indicated that the arrangement was made after the June 12th 2014 elections and the opposition was NOT consulted on the matter.
However immediately rebutting his claims Lionel Hurst, speaking during a radio programme, said that it was an order acknowledged by the Gaston Browne Administration, upon assuming office.
“We came to office in June of 2014 and this is one of the arrangement that we met. I know that Mr. Baldwin Spencer has denied it but we met this arrangement in place having to do with an exchange of knighthood and we know Government is continuous so we acknowledged the order.”
Bailey and 5 others were knighted in what appeared to be an exchange between Antigua and Barbuda and a Catholic Charity which saw approximately 1.1 million pounds going towards restoration efforts for the St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s Catholic Churches and the expansion of the St. Joseph’s Academy.
Hurst further mentioned that after discrepancies were discovered, PM Browne revoked the honors.
“When Prime Minister that tow of these gentleman was implicated in some wrongdoing in the pass, we immediately asked the honors committee to withdraw the knighthoods and that was done,” the Chief of Staff said.