Observer Owes More Than 4.5 Million Dollars Says PM

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Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Gaston Browne has put the amount owed by the now defunct Observer Media Group to state at a whopping $4.5 million. 

Browne said the amounts owed are from all the companies that formed the media group.

“They owe 1.6 million dollars to APUA for electricity and other services. They also owe Medical Benefits 214 thousand dollars, Social Security 305 thousand,” he said.

The prime minister also alleges that Observer owes “2.4 million dollars in ABST that they collected and never paid over to the government of Antigua and Barbuda.”

He said based on intelligence, the media house was in the process of selling off the assests of the company.

“For example they sold 800 thousand dollars worth of equipment belonging to the OMG, to two members of their staff for approximately 400 thousand dollars.”

While that was going on, the prime minister says OMG made no other arrangements to pay other creditors.

“APUA as a debtor had to move towards the court to protect its own interest and the interest of other creditors.”

He explained that what APUA got was a restraining order preventing the directors from continuing with the sale of the assets.

“What are seeking to do is to protect the interest of all creditors,” Browne told state media.

He said since information suggests that several members of the Derrick family will be returning to Canada “the last thing we wanted was an asset strip and one in which creditors would be left to hold the bag.”

Observer closed on Friday and blamed the APUA injunction for its inability to pay staff their severance.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I am shocked as to how the Observer Media Group thinks it’s OK to rip-off the Antigua government. That $4.5m is a huge sum for a small country like Antigua. It really shows that this ‘media organization’ known as OMG never really cared about doing the right thing for Antigua, instead it was focused on their own selfish money consumption and selfish agenda.

    I hope our government goes after the OMG principals hard for the monies they owe to the government. I means seriously, this OMG group cannot even pay basic utilities and social security contributions they owe? And people really read and believed what that media publication was telling them before? Crazy.

    So happy we have seen the last of OMG!

    • Really? Seems like you found it very suitable to your cause to use OMG to blog Chinese propaganda crap to what was mostly a very unreceptive audience. Strange that you omitted to comment on the well documented inhumane (to human and animal) side of China!
      Did you know that Confucius said “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves” and it’s called Karma? So, if I were you I would not follow the wishing ill will example being set because OMG did a lot for democracy, gave us a much needed voice and insight into the corruption that constantly pulls down we, the people in Antigua.

    • How dare they rip off the government?
      Don’t they know that Only the MPs are allowed to rip off the government?
      How many ministers own trucks, heavy duty equipment, are silent partners in businesses that pay no abst or customs duties and compete with the local contractors who have to pay taxes through theit teeth

      Gaston need to pay all the contractors ,overtime owed, backpay ,SS and MB contributions before he can fix his mouth to chide Observer.

    • You have got gall! How much does the government owe Social Security and Medical Benefits? What does our national debt look like? Where are the IMF reports from 2014-2017? Who are all the people we owe to provide the money for the back pay? How much did the government pay to bail out Deluxe? These are questions the Prime Minister should consider the answers to. Big secret, how much money had the CIP netted? How many passports have been sold under that arrangements. Phew I am out of breath! When things have become “brown” wrong becomes right! Sadly lots if Antiguans have lost their sight!

    • Don’t bet on it RealRastaman. Can’t wait for the new Observer to get up and running so we can have real news and entertainment not to mention all the informative programing we have become accustomed to. I know I am not the only one who really misses their intelligent approach. Let’s hope this gets settled ASAP with or without “divine” intervention. I have tried the alternative media available and it is pretty appalling.

    • Where is the proof of what is owed? When he goes into court, he has to have proof. I am sure OMG is going to have their bills of what is owed to them by the rest of government offices and APUA. This pendulum swings both ways, for now he has the ball, because he can throw numbers out, I want to see the paper that have those numbers on it that say yes this is what it is. This should have been ironed out in private and not hail a slingshot in public. When are we going to end this craziness.

  2. 4.5M??? Wow!! That’s a HUGE sum of money. Who is the Financial Director/Accountant for observer? How did they allow their debt to reach to such an astronomical level?? When was the last time they did an internal audit? This is carelessness and recklessness. How is it that these private entities can get away with owing such hefty sums to APUA?? Yet the “common man” is disconnected swiftly for owing significantly smaller sums?

  3. Hmmmm, first off Observer Media Group have done more for free speech in this country than any man or woman has singularly!!! Observer Media Group is the reason we can Comment on a story that involves Observer media group going out of business….. I do hope and pray that all the outstanding monies owed to Observer by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, the Political Parties and other businesses are collected as well….. A lot of us only see the Bad but always quickly forget the good many persons and companies have done…. It is sad that this is the way it has ended but by God there is a new and improved Observer Media in Woods Mall that will continue to highlight all the ill’s of Society and our poor choices of Government

    • Right you are. I applaud the attention Observer gave to Pan and Calypso and Ol Time Sumptin , all the traditional culture of A&B. Let’s not forget Movement Radio on Tuesday night.
      I guess Gaston just couldn’t take any criticism and even with the operatives calling in to VOP he felt the truth about his government’s epic failure to deliver even basic services like water , roads and a professional and non political police force was not to be criticized.
      Does anyone know when this new observer is going to start operating? Surely the end of this horror show must be in sight? Come on Gaston, let there be light again.

  4. I don’t have a problem with the government going after the private sector (Observer Media Group) for what is owed to the government statutory bodies in taxes. What about the government owing Medical Benefits and Social Security millions of dollars in employees contributions… Before you can take plank out of someone else eyes, please first take it out of yours PM government.
    What about what the political parties including ABLP owed Observer Media for advertisements? Also, what APUA owed Observer Media for advertisements?
    Yes, I believed that Observer Media Group should pay their debts owed.
    Mr. PM, Observer Media Group need to sell what assets they have like their equipment so they can generate cash flow to pay it debts including the staffs severance. So why stop them from selling their equipments?

  5. How much did he purchased lands for and what was the return after selling it in pieces. What amount did Antigua Treasury get from those transactions. Is this the same guy who decided that he does not owe Social Security or should I say he does not have to pay. What a wolf? Huffing and puffing as the big bad @$$ when he’s no more than; and keeping a straight face like Boldfaced.

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