Incompetence, partisan political or ripoff: Sir Gerald Watt’s response to Observer Editor

King's Counsel, Sir Gerald Watt

Dear Editor,

Your readers will recall an article carried by your news outlet, as well as others under the caption “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING” and written by me in reply to a guest opinion appearing in the Daily Observer of March 18, 2023 written by the Chairperson of the UPP, D. Gisele Isaac, and headed “WHERE ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY”.

The article was replete with false and misleading statements, including a repeat of allegations made the UPP that the Member for St. Phillip’s (North) “had not subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and was therefore not properly seated in Parliament.

If this was so, then the entire Budget Debate would be a nullity, and was a matter of importance to the public and to Parliament.”

My reply to Isaac’s opinion was carried in total by Antigua Newsroom, , News online, Pointe Xpress Newspaper and ABS News.

It was also forwarded to the Observer Newspaper for publication by the Clerk to Parliament (Ag.), Mrs. Rosemarie Weston.

Shortly thereafter an employee of the Newspaper telephoned the Clerk, and informed her that the cost of publishing the article would be EC$1,478.26.  The Clerk, in response, queried the reason for the charge, pointing out that it was for publication to the readership and not an advertisement.

The employee however insisted that the article would not be carried unless the sum of $1478.26 was paid.  The Clerk requested to speak to a senior person, this request was however ignored.

In fact, the more the Clerk queried the reason for the charging for the article, resulted in the employee becoming more adamant and disrespectful by simply over talking and shutting down the Clerk.  The fact is, the article was not and has not been published.  The Clerk can confirm all of the above.

As a result of this refusal to publish an article that on the very face of it was a rebuttal to a guest opinion, carried in Observer Newspaper, and bearing in mind that the opinion written by Isaac was a partisan political piece, and dealt with matters of Parliamentary and public importance, I felt obligated to raise the matter at the Sitting of the House of representatives on the 17th March, ultimo, and drew to the attention of the Members of both sides of the House aisle to the refusal of the Observer Newspaper to publish my article unless I paid the aforesaid sum by falsely treating the article as an advertisement, which it was clearly not.

During my statement I indicated that I held the Editor responsible for what I concluded to be a refusal to publish by deliberately charging an exorbitant sum to do so.  Let me state here, that I was under no obligation to call either the Editor or anyone, following Observer’s action.


That very afternoon at approximately 1:20 p.m. Miss Handy sent me the following WhatsApp.

“Good afternoon apparently my name emerged in Parliament. I                    have done some internal investigation and it appears you sent an                 article on April 4 to the advertising department rather than to                       myself or the editorial department. It would have been appropriate               to ensure I received it before attempting to bring my name into                           disrepute on national television. Presumably you will now set the                 record straight.”


I am now happy to respond to Miss Handy’s spurious WhatsApp most of which was repeated in a vacuous statement circulated by Observer Newspaper.  Surely even if the article referred had been missent to the advertisement department, it was obviously not intended as an advertisement, and no reasonable person could come to that conclusion. Further the article was in fact sent under cover letter by the Clerk and reads as follows:

“Dear Miss George

Forwarded is an article written “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”                       written by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir Gerald            A. Watt KCN, KG. For publication in your widely read newspaper.              Much Appreciated

Kind regards

Rosemarie Weston

Clerk to Parliament (Ag.)”

In light of the above, one would expect an article missent to the advertisement department would be immediately forwarded to the editorial department by the click of a mouse.  Miss Handy however seems content to ignore the patent incompetence of the employee who could not identify an article for publication from an advertisement.

Discerning readers will recall certain recent past events at Observer which made the Newspapers refusal to publish suspicious. I refer to the paper’s unceremonious banning of the Government’s Chief of Staff from a morning programme hosted by Daren Matthew Ward, which resulted in the resignation by Ward and by Kieron Murdoch, easily its most talented and professional radio hosts.  This undemocratic and political partisan action was instigated by the managing director Watts who doubled down on his action and justified it by saying that his radio station was to help him get elected” and “who don’t understand that can head for the door”.

In addition, on one of his ubiquitous vlogs Watts was heard to say that, “If Gerry want the article published, he would have to pay”. In light of all of the above, why would I or the Clerk call the Editor or Watts to inquire why the Speaker was being charged $1,478.26 for publication of an article in rebuttal to a guest opinion by Chairperson Isaac? In light of all of the above, is it not fair to conclude that the explanatory statement put out by Observer Newspaper is disingenuous, hypocritical and dishonest?

Miss Handy and Watts make much of the fact that the article was five pages long, this is false, as it was in fact 3¼ pages of legal foolscap, and in any event what turns on that, as it was carried in full by ALL of the other news outlets to whom it was sent and published without charge.  The question to be asked by your readers is whether the action by Observer was a genuine mistake, a result of incompetence by an employee, a ploy to avoid publishing the rebuttal to a dishonest guest opinion, or a mixture of “political badmind” and an intention to ripoff.  This is a question on which your readers are invited to ponder.

I shall be forwarding this letter to Observer’s Editor and editorial department for publication but will not be holding my breath.

Regards, Sir Gerald A. Watt KCN, KG, Speaker

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  1. My reply to Isaac’s opinion was carried in total by Antigua Newsroom, , News online, Pointe Xpress Newspaper and ABS News.
    I would think that was enough coverage of your filth, you hypocrite!

  2. Mr. Watt you will do anything to be seen, heard and relevant! You are an obstruction and about to die from old age! Please shut up and move out of the way blocking intelligent conversation.

  3. A geriatric former AG of Antigua once said “to hell with the constitution” so observer should tell Gerry to hell with his letter.
    One would not be surprised if one Saturday he is heard on rumshop radio.

  4. I agree with a sentiment I heard about this man and his infamous article; just throw the whole mess into the shredder. This fool has brought our supposedly respected parLIAment into nothing but a political national enquirer. I can tolerate elected members of parliament using the parliament to respond to criticism (although I don’t think this is the place for it), but this man thinks he has the right as elected officials. That he is an ALP supporter is his own affair, but in parliament, he is there to maintain balance and fairness, and here he has been a dismal failure. Really, when I saw the infamous article, I just dismissed it as irrelevant, just like Gerald Watts will become in the not to distant future.

  5. I would suggest to Mr Watts to do what he was appointed to do impartiality and stay out of the politics of the labour government. Observer is a private radio station, not funded by the labour government, whether directly, through government advertisements or paying the salaries of staff members. They therefore have the right to publish what they decide, whether for free or a charge. They have to generate revenue to pay their staff. Mr. Watts can have his article published by the government funded news outlets. Would you dare tell any other private business how to run their operations? Truth be told, most of Observer readers want to read nothing from you as you have lost all credibility.

  6. Gerry Watt,Power tends to Corrupt and absolute power Corrupts absolutely. Gerry Watt,does that sounds like someone you know. I say yes,you.

  7. I have no doubt the speaker is not surprised by the actions of OMG of not publishing his response. The issue is the pretense by the Editor. The wolf in sheep clothing is the issue. I see comments stating OMG is free to publish what it wish since its a biz. Then why did the Editor not say this and instead pretend if only she had received it, it would have been published? The company she works at received it. Time for OMG to stop pretending its the voice of the people and remind persons that its foremost purpose is to serve its owners personal ambitions. hmm I gather the lie when its convenient helps to hide the smell

  8. Mr Speaker,
    You had a choice on where you spend your money. You chose Observer Newspapee to propagated your poison.

    Therefore, it is not your rights to tell them what , how or when the piblish your hysterical nonsense. Stop making a nuisance of yourself and do something positive, like stop allowing ALP ftom cause further embarrassment.

  9. Spare me the sickening hypocritical feeble dribble. You are the poster boy of many of the things wrong with the Country. Where are you when the State Media doesn’t carry the opposition articles or positions?
    You want to piss all over a private newspaper for not carrying your self-serving diatribe; while sitting like a dummy when state media does the same.

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