Labour Minister meets with former Observer staff

Old Logo for Observer Publications still being used (FILE PHOTO)

The Attorney General and Minister of Labour the Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, Acting Labour Commissioner Pascal Kentish and other representatives from the Labour Department met with the staff of the Observer Media Group on Thursday.

The Labour Minister was contacted by staff members from the media entity to discuss their concerns about severance owed to them which is yet to be paid by management.

Benjamin informed the staff that as a member of the Executive arm of government he should not have been involved in what he described as a “private matter”, but as the Minister of Labour he must ensure “that all workers are protected in Antigua and Barbuda”.
Minister Benjamin reiterated the Prime Minister’s view that the workers must be protected in every circumstance and their severance payment be given priority as provided by law followed by taxes owed by the Observer Group to Statutory bodies.
Benjamin further recommended that the staff members relate all matters to the Acting Labour Commissioner Pascal Kentish since he would be more than capable to deal with that matter according to law.

The Labour Minister assured the staff that his government will insist that the workers are paid first before any receiver is appointed to oversee the assets of Observer Media Group.

He stated that workers are covered by the Labour Code and once staff has been severed they must receive the adequate compensation calculated and based on the provisions of the law and the precedence that have been set within Antigua and Barbuda.

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  1. It is not the job of the Antigua government or a Minister to defend workers from a specific company’s bad financial behavior. If these workers have a financial problem then they can file a claim against the Observer Media Group in court, just like everybody else has to do. Media companies in Antigua should not be treated in a special way compared to any other type of company. Sorry, but you former workers from OMG have to deal with the consequences of working there, this is known as: LIFE, welcome to reality!

    • Nikki Phoenix? I doubt that. She would NEVER backstab Observer like that. After arl “a dem mek she.”

      Shoulda done like Martina Johnson a real GT.

  2. The word receiver suggest the company has filled for bankruptcy.
    If that’s the case the former workers may not get any severance.

    Hence the reason I made the comment when the amended the bankruptcy act THAT WORKERS MUST BE PROTECTED UNDER TYE ACT.

    The Minister should only engage the workers after the labour department complete their inquires.

    This labour Minister seems to make allot of PROCEDURAL ERRORS….

    • A company doesn’t have to file for bankruptcy. The creditors can force it into bankruptcy. And by the way Observer voluntary decided to close their business. And that is wrong when they haven’t contacted any of their creditor to explain how they will pay them. They should have gone the route of voluntary liquidation and than the court would appoint a receiver for them. They were just trying a scam. But that is not how you close down a business.

  3. Why not meet with former Liat workers who can’t get monies owed to them up to now? This is just politics. It’s ok for Liat to continue owing people but observer is a big deal an$ at the forefront. What a place.

  4. The former workers of the leeward islands security specialist is yet to get their money still on the labour ministers desk for 7 years now and nothing but they know y they fighting this battle….hope they do like collin oneal fraud but his time will come he done run beef

    • Leewind paint workers had a meeting with the Same Attorney General, the Same Day, at the Same Office, with the Same Acting Labour Commissioner and his high level team, while the Deupty Solicitor General was in the former Observer workers meeting, it was the Solicitor General (himself) the Accompanied the Attorney General/ Minister of Labour to the former Leewind Paints workers meeting at about 11am 6th Dec. 2018.
      Why wasn’t this a news item? The Government doing its job, nothing here special to Observer as one blogger suggested.

  5. I honestly cannot recall a time during my lifetime in Antigua that I have seen so much egotistical vengeance on a LOCAL company OMG who did so much to educate/inform and ensure that the ordinary people from all walks of life were able to have a voice and intellectually participate in the daily happenings in this island. The corruption that took place with the WPP was revealed and discussed at length on a competitive media and I do not recall any vengeance taking place. I know the Outlet was persecuted to the point of a fire, but that was a long time ago and in 2018 we should have moved way beyond that insecure nonsense of trying to muzzle the press for political gain. This obsession to destroy Observer needs to stop. If anyone does not like what may be said on air then the simple thing to do is just don’t listen to it…it’s called the off button. Anyone who chooses to take up public life as a career needs to be self-assured enough to deal with the criticisms that go hand in hand with that life. Anyone who cares and genuinely wants to do what is best for the people does not go out of their way to smother local business whether it be the media or construction etc.

    • Never underestimate the desire for revenge when fragile egos and scorned individuals are involved. The attempt to control the narrative in the absence of reputable public media coverage may backfire thanks to social media. Riding roughshod over the established legal processes may slow down the re-establishment of a new Observer but in the end there will be one. While this egotistical vengeance is being carried out A&B will watch and learn just how valuable an independent Observer has been. The longer it takes the more people will feel their absence. Who feels it , knows it.


    Seemed that the ‘…Labour Minister,’ got entangled prematurely.

    Protocol dictates that ‘…aggrieved employees shall approach through their Union to

    (a) …the Labour Commissioner;

    (b) …if his intervention was unsuccessful, then the matter is referred to the Labour Minister; and if his intervention proved futile, then the matter is referred to

    (c) …the Industrial Court.’

    Depending on outcome, it could reach at the London-based ‘…Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC)’ as had been the Case for the Cable and Wireless employees [PCA: No.0013 of 2010].

    Not sure why he took the ‘…Interventionist Bait.’

  7. So true my dear it pain my heart what done so much to educate.OMG i have learnt so much through them. Some ppl just don’t learn. Thank God for Observer. I miss you all.

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