In 1969, Asot Anthony Michael was born to a family deeply entrenched in political activism. It would come to shape his life, being in a family that was heavy into politics. He was born in the French West Indies in the city of Guadalupe and named after his grandfather. His grandfather dealt with anti-government factions and died shortly after those factions burned down his home. Asot’s father, Patrick, was also deeply into politics. He supported the ABLP – Antigua & Barbuda Labor Party – during the 1970s. The party was not very popular, and Patrick sacrificed the family business to make sure the ABLP survived.
Asot Michael comes from a long line of political activists. Great uncles Mitchell and Maurice helped his grandfather socially and economically transform the island nation they called home. They got things done, helping the people they served in the socio-political arena. They were philanthropists, and Asot Michael got his love of politics from them.
Growing up, Asot Michael attended St. Joseph’s Academy in St. John’s, Antigua. He graduated with his high school diploma and continued his education at Barry University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Business Administration. He also double majored in Economics and Finance. He then earned his MBA from the University of Miami Graduate School of Business while receiving many scholastic accolades and honors through his education.
“Education is very important to me. And as such, Antigua and Barbuda must keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to educating our youth,” says Asot Michael. “A knowledge-based economy is important to Caribbean nations so that we can offer services in tourism, IT, banking, and more.” With his help, the ABLP opened the door to education to the residents of these island nations. Secondary schools were expanded to accommodate the growing population of students. The government also helped quadruple scholarships over disciplines to give the nation’s youth a better chance at success.
Asot Michael was a big factor in raising money to rehabilitate two schools that he felt were neglected by the ABLP. The Pares Primary School and Parham Primary School, both in his political constituency of St. Peters, are currently under renovation. The two schools did not provide adequate learning spaces, and those that were there had failing infrastructures, making them unsafe and unsightly.
“The rehabilitation of these two schools will include shoring up and making the schools safe for students, painting them, and installing new handwashing sinks and hand sanitizing stations,” says Asot Michael. “There will also be a new security station installed at Pares Primary School to ensure the safety of our students.” In addition to the promise of rehabilitation, he helped provide 221 “Back to School” packages to students. These packages included items that were needed immediately, including face masks, hand sanitizers, and school supplies.
Asot Michael has proven himself to be a savvy politician who listens to what his constituents have to say. Even though his political career has been filled with challenges, he has helped move the ABLP into the future. His seat in the House of Representatives was a highly contested one. Many critics, and even some of his colleagues, wondered why this “wealthy white man “cared about the people in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I am a descendant of Lebanese immigrants. I feel the need to represent the ‘nonblack’ communities that are part of Antigua and Barbuda. I was raised with a strong sense of duty. As a member of the community, I feel that we must show kindness to our fellow man and philanthropy to the church, schools, and society as a whole,” explains Asot Michael.
Asot Michael has made it his personal mission the ensure the lives of his neighbors and countrymen are better than in the past. He has used his unique experience as a business owner to implement systemic change in his constituency while firmly supporting the interests of others. He is a driving force behind the government’s focus on infrastructure, business growth, and social justice changes that need to be made in Antigua and Barbuda for the society there to prosper.
Asot Michael: A Leader In Change
“Investing in our community is about investing and committing to the people that live there. By bolstering the public infrastructure, beyond just physically renovating an area, we show the residents that we care about the conditions they live in. We show them that we want to see them grow financially, see that they are safe and happy,” Michael states. “It goes beyond a single action. It helps foster trust, confidence, and a positive working relationship with the government.
“You have to reinvest funds to public service projects to make a community stronger. It helps foster interest in the community and makes it appealing to people thinking about living there. Better services and amenities, the continued development of the area, and better spending power make an area more appealing and promote job growth. It’s a continuous cycle,” Michael says. “One that we must encourage so that the long-term effects are felt long after the rehabilitation project is done.”
He is also a champion for small businesses. “My father was a small business owner, and it is important that we support them through this current global pandemic. They are an integral part of our community and help serve the people who live there. As an entrepreneur and small business owner myself, I am in the unique position of knowing what hardships, roadblocks, and needs small business owners deal with every day. By helping these businesses maintain their livelihood and continuous service to their community, I can help Antigua and Barbuda continue to grow.”