(BROOKLYN, New York): At a recent meeting US State Department officials indicated their “utter dismay” at a false online report that claimed a letter was delivered to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne “by an American official” while he was at the UN General Assembly last week. According to the fraudulent story, “Insiders in Antigua report that it (the letter) contained a direct threat to sever Antigua’s financial institutions from the American financial structure.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, said, “Not only was no letter delivered to Prime Minister Browne by any US official, but US State Department officers confirmed to me in a meeting today their utter dismay at the story, saying that no such letter was even under their consideration.”
The ambassador named the US State Department officials with whom he spoke as Kenneth Merten, the acting principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Katherine Duffy Dueholm, the director, Office of Caribbean Affairs, US State Department, and Mark Bland, the desk officer for the Eastern Caribbean at the State Department.
Saying that his regular bilateral meeting with the US State Department officials had been arranged long before the publication of the false information in question, Sanders confirmed that he raised the matter and the story was completely rejected. The so-called “sources in Antigua” referred to in the false report have not been identified.