The government remains resolute that it sees no need to convene a public inquiry
into the Antigua Airways matter despite an aggressive lobbying effort by the
opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
Last week, the party took a petition, with signatures, to the Governor General. This
document was submitted as part of the campaign that it had organized to have the
inquiry called. The UPP has been urging the GG, Sir Rodney Williams to convene
the inquiry, although there have been numerous opinions indicating that the
authority to convene a public inquiry rests with the executive arm of government,
the Cabinet, and not with the Governor General.
This week’s Cabinet Notes revealed that the Cabinet sought and received, through
the Ministry of Legal Affairs, legal opinions by two King’s Counsels (KC’s) on the
power of the Governor General, in relation to establishing public inquiries. The
experts concluded that the Governor General has no power to commission a public
“The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda decides on the establishment of a
Commission of Inquiry, and by way of Resolution, the Parliament of Antigua and
Barbuda provides the authority to the Governor General and will also vote to
authorize a special warrant to fund the Inquiry. The claim by political operatives
that the Governor General has the authority to commission a Public Inquiry is
absolutely false,” the notes declared.
This comes as the former UPP Attorney General, Justin Simon KC, joined the
discussion, stating that he is of the view that the Governor General has the
authority to summon the inquiry.
Cabinet spokesman, Lionel Max Hurst was asked to respond to Simon’s comment.
Hurst expressed the view that the former Attorney General is quite aware that the
GG does not have such authority. “What we have found is a willingness on the part
of those connected to political parties to make inane judgments and announcements
that clearly do not purport with the law. We have consulted with two KC’s and
they have provided us with their opinions and we also have an opinion dating back
to 2001 when another Commission of Inquiry was being foisted upon the Antigua
and Barbuda people. They were trying to get the GG at that time to call an inquiry
and he indicated, quite clearly, that he did not have such authority. I don’t
understand why someone who knows the law would make such a statement,” he