Antigua and Barbuda’s former education minister Michael Browne has maintained his innocence against criminal charges filed against him last month.
While the charges against the 44-year-old former minister have not been made public, his arrest followed allegations made against him by a woman. He has been released on EC$15,000 bail when he appeared in court late last month.
But speaking to constituents of the All Saints West constituency on Sunday, Browne maintained his innocence and that the charge against him was designed to damage his character.
“I am here to assure you that as the Michael Browne that you have known in and outside of politics, many of you would have grown up around me, or many of you would have had professional, personal dealings with me.
“As your parliamentary representative for All Saints West, I want to assure that those allegations are completely false, they are baseless and I see this as a very unfortunate attempt to impute my character and person,” he said in his first public statement since the charge had been laid against him.”
He told constituents “that there is not much I could comment on the matter because the matter is before the court and even though this journey is a rough journey, I would have liked for this matter not to occur at all, primarily because it is not true.
“It is only through the courts that I can have my name cleared and this matter be permanently brought to rest,” the former education minister said, adding that while he is no longer a cabinet minister, he remains the parliamentary representative for the area.
“I do look forward to having my name cleared in the courts and for those of you who would have known me from childhood…you know that the serious person that I am, I am not the type of person to deal in backdoor settlement or backdoor arrangements.
“If an allegation is made lets go all the way so that I could have my name fully cleared,” the former minister added.
Following his court appearance last month, his lawyer, Gail Pedro, told the court that her client has no previous arrest and will not be interfering with the victim or witnesses.
The presiding magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edward granted the former minister bail, ordered him to surrender his travel documents, and report to the police three times per week.