Antigua’s Governor-General is vowing to stand up to the United States as he seeks to resolve a 12-year-old dispute between the two countries that started at the dawn of the online gambling era. Sir Rodney Williams made his remarks as he addressed the opening of a new session of Parliament.
Williams, and other members of the Antiguan government, have been working to solve the dispute for years, but have met with a wall of resistance from the United States.
Antiguans are particularly frustrated because the World Trade Organization ruled that the US should pay the Antigua $ 21 million for blocking the island’s right to free trade by blocking Americans’ access to internet gambling. The Americans have yet to pay a dime of that fine, which has grown to $ 250 million with interest.
Because the US is so utterly uninterested in paying off the Antiguans, the WTO ruled that the island nation could could collect the cash by selling US intellectual property. In short, the WTO gave Antigua the right to legally open its own version of iTunes that could operate until it made $ 250 million.
Not surprisingly, the Antiguans are loathe to take such a serious action against a country as large as the US, but they haven’t written off the possibility entirely. At the same time, Antiguan politicians like Williams are desperate to resolve the issue without resorting to stealing copyrights.
In a statement reported on by CalvinAyre.com, Williams said his country would ultimately have to do what it had to do to get its rightful compensation saying Antigua would:
…proceed to Parliament to adopt legislation consistent with the WTO ruling, allowing Antigua and Barbuda to nullify US copyright protections and to benefit from so doing.
Williams also expressed his desire to work out the dispute will President Barrack Obama was still in office, but would not rule out the possibility of making a deal with America’s next President.
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