Video Calls for Assassination of Legislators.
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Dec. 9, CMC – The Antigua and Barbuda Parliament has approved a resolution deploying “the dastardly act of terrorism” by the circulation of a video “inciting the assassination” of legislators here.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne in piloting the resolution late Thursday, said that the matter was of “serious concern” and one of national security.
He told legislators that last few days, the video has been circulating through the social media “that brings terrorism and incitement to commit murder directly into our country and at the very heart of government.
“The video, which has a strong military focus, portrays several members of this Honourable House on the government side as targets for execution. It also portrays you, Mr Speaker, as a target for such a murderous act,” Browne said.
He said at the end of the video a male voice is heard to identify himself as George Whenner, who calls on his audience to keep their heads down and to keep their eyes on the target.
“Mr Speaker, never in the history of our country have we witnessed such a naked threat of terrorism. Never in the conduct of political rivalry in this nation have we seen such a wanton call to commit murder,” Browne said, adding that the video has all the overtones of similar videos produced by the Syrian based terrorist group, ISIS, “the most notorious terrorist organisation in the world.
“It has brought into our peaceful and tranquil land, an element of terror that threatens the very fabric of our society. It introduces into our God-fearing country, a call to defy God’s commandment – thou shall not kill – and strikes at the ethos of our Christian beliefs,” Prime Minister Browne added.
He told Parliament that the threats in the video assume credible proportions “because it shows Mr Whenner in military uniform and soldiers engaged in war.
“Mr Whenner is a trained soldier, a captain, a commissioned officer well-versed in the use of guns, ammunition and other lethal weapons. In 2010 the Commander of the Antigua Barbuda Defence Force recommended to the Defence Board, headed by the former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, that he be retired from the Antigua Barbuda Defence Force in the interest of National Security,” Browne said.
He said that Whenner consistently promotes himself on a local radio station here as “a “War Dog” and has threatened him on several occasions.
“George Whenner was also the person in command during the infamous “Palm Sunday Massacre” He is known to be cold and calculated and we should not take any chances. As a consequence of this threat, measures will be put in place to protect the individuals so threatened. This is not a matter that this Honourable House can afford to take lightly,” Prime Minister Browne added.
Police have since announced that they are searching for Whenner, an executive member of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
The party’s attorney, Leon “Chaku” Symister confirmed that Whenner is being sought in regards to a possible violation of the Electronic Crimes Act.
Meanwhile, Whenner has issued a public apology over the video. Speaking on Observer Radio, he said while he is taking ownership of the video, he is denying suggestions that he intends to carry out any act of terrorism in Antigua and Barbuda.
“That video was purely political. That video was a pure political attack. The political leaders spoke with me yesterday at a meeting and I gave instructions…for the website to take it down. The video came down and I just want to underscore the fact that …I am a member of the new brigade of the United Progressive Party and we are fighting politically and we are in a political fight for Antigua and Barbuda.
“Somebody has to stand up and this is no act of terror and we are not advocating or promoting any terrorism whatsoever, this is purely political and we are standing…for the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” he told radio listeners.
In his statement to Parliament, Prime Minister Browne said that terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals, nor is it a legitimate form of action.
“Persons who invoke terror and incite murder are not seeking a better society, or a stronger economy, they are doing nothing more than seeking the murder of people and the destruction of ordered society.
“I cannot believe that the members of this House, who belong to the UPP, would condone this call to terror and this incitement to assassinate. Therefore, I call upon them to join all the members of this House in condemning this dastardly act of terrorism. “I also call on the leadership of the UPP to disassociate itself immediately from Whenner and his dishonourable summons to their supporters to kill. If they fail to do so, the people of this nation will be forced to conclude that the UPP leadership condones and encourages terrorism and incitement to murder.”