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Antigua: PM unapologetic for Barbuda ‘inbreeding’ comments

If Barbuda’s MP Trevor Walker was expecting an apology from Prime Minister Gaston Browne for his controversial comments about blood relations on the sister isle, then he clearly underestimated the man known for his tendency to speak brazenly.

In fact, Walker’s demands for the PM to apologise to Barbudans only added fuel to the flames of a heated debate that shows little sign of abating just yet.

Browne clearly will not say “I’m sorry” or even retract the damning statements he made in Parliament alleging Barbudans were having “consanguineal relations”, aka inbreeding.

Instead, an unrepentant Browne even accused Walker of knowing the risks of such relations – and doing nothing about it.

“It is the primarily [sic] reason why Barbudans are significantly shorter than they were decades ago, and is the cause of the health problems among some,” Browne told OBSERVER.

He said with Barbuda’s current reduced population of 1,100, the prevalence and risks of consanguineal relations could increase.

“Armed with this information and awareness, Barbudans would be better equipped to manage the risks,” he said.

PM Browne strongly believes that, despite the sensitivity, avoiding the subject is not the answer, further accusing Walker of “exploiting the emotions and ignorance” of the Barbudan people for partisan gain.

“He [Walker] is seeking votes; I am concerned about the quality of life of the Barbudans. Barbudans should see this as a proactive and caring concern, to protect them and their offspring from a potential health threat,” the prime minister insisted.

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