Observer Media Closing Down

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

Approximately 60 employees of the Observer Media Group (OMG) will be unemployed come Dec. 1.

The management of the OMG, that operates The Daily Observer, Observer Radio and Hitz FM, has informed its staff that the company will cease operations on Nov. 30, 2018.

It’s the end of an ear for the company that was earlier this month granted an extension to remain in the building they currently occupy close to the V.C. Bird International Airport. They have occupied the now defunct Antigua Sun News Paper building which was owned by convicted fraudster Allen Stanford since 2012.

Management was served notice by the joint liquidators of the Stanford Development Company dated July 26, 2018 to vacate the building.

Plagued with financial issues and litigation, it has been a bumpy ride for Observer Media Group since its two founders – brothers Samuel ‘Fergie’ Derrick and Winston Derrick died – the latter in 2013.

In a staff meeting yesterday, the media entity’s management informed employees that their last day of operation will be Nov. 30.

The printing staff will reportedly be severed in November 19. A source revealed they were further informed that at the end of November, employees are expected to receive their full or partial severance packages.

During the month of January, Observer’s Chief Operating Officer Darren Derrick announced that the estate of Samuel ‘Fergie’ Derrick was offering for sale the majority of its shares in the two companies.

The private placement was for 45,000 shares in each company, which represented 45 per cent of all issued shares in the companies.

However, the offer was short lived when the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission intervened, which resulted in the company removing the website created specifically for members of the public to purchase shares.

Among the reasons given for the intervention was OMG’s inability to publish its audited accounts, which made the offer illegal. A warning was also issued a day after by Georgia Derrick, the late Winston Derrick’s daughter, cautioning the public not to purchase shares.

Observer Media Group had reportedly failed to inform potential buyers of the risks involved in purchasing shares and the fact that they were not going to benefit from returns.

Observer Radio began broadcasting in 2001, following a Privy Council ruling. The Daily Observer Newspaper printed its final copy in August this year, moving to free online edition for its many readers who previously paid a subscription fee.

There has been no official statement yet from management on the decision to close the company.

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  1. That is not what I learned from the VOP with the CEO. He said they will move to a new location and form a new company and the staff will be given share and they will be the owners of this new company. I am waiting to make any comments because the information provided is very sketchy. Their are so many questions to ask and answers to give. But what I am afraid for is that the staff if being hoodwinked from their severance and be given an empty worthless company to try and make something of it. They did the same with Antigua Printing and Publishing on factory Road

  2. This would be a very dark day for free speech in Antigua. Every right thinking Antiguan should be saddened by this development. Lord Help our country without any independent voice now. No one to look out for us….no where to express our views.

    • It is a blow. Now what part did poor management, greed, family squabbles and badmind play in the demise of this entity? RIP Winston Derrick.

    • What blow to freedom of speech? Really? OMG have lost their credibility a long time ago the company started dying after Winston died,he tried to keep some credibility and balance .. Delivering truth to the nation is a good thing,but when facts are distorted and Propaganda becomes the order of the day,this is the result..

    • Most media companies are managed by incompetent business people, this happens around the world. Anyways, Antigua is only 100,000 people and most cities in the world with such a small population don’t even have a newspaper. Let’s face it, Antigua is too small for multiple media companies, basic economic law.

  3. Another victim of the internet of things.1) Cable & wireless used to be the place to work at a very good salary, then came VOIP that killed that company and replaced it with low paying salary companies , example flows and digicel.
    2) Alot of retailers are not doing too well, they are laying off staffs and most paid minimum wages because they have to compete with amazon, ebay, and other american based online companies.
    3) The Cable TV division of Flows and CTV are in serious trouble because they have to compete against Netflix, Hulu and other online streamers.
    This also explained why revenue for MBS and Social security are fallen.
    Two ways that media companies makes money are by advertising and subscription. Google and Facebook dominate those field and it is very difficult to compete against them.

  4. Wow, once again the poor workers will be left probably without their severance. At least forty percent of the staff were former Sun Printing and Publishing LTD workers who did not receive their severance. When will it stop. When will someone stand up for workers in this country or is it only certain people who matter. When will it stop. Talk about economic powerhouse more like a joke house.

  5. That jackass u all put to run Antigua and Barbuda is just going to sell off the country for the benefit of his ministers and their families. May God have mercy on Antigua and Barbuda.

    • What does this have to do with Observer and the incompetence of its management?? All the way to the Privy council and now this. Watta calamity! Winston would’ve NEVER imagined that his legacy would come to this. At least he is NOT here to witness this. It would have broken him.

    • Why don’t you go and run and do a better job…you think everything can be fixed over night…everything take time…yall always ready to criticize and undermine ppl…since you can do a better job why you don’t take on the task…is ppl like you create unnecessary conflict for your petty issues…what happen you ask one the ministers from something and didn’t get it? Nothing good comes easy so if you can’t do a better job just shut up and let the man do his work…Antigua have so much in developed land and only when y’all see ppl taking on the risk of investing y’all have something to say…when ppl buy land they can’t run way with it…it gives the ppl more jobs and opportunities…quit judging ppl and talking negative…why don’t you find ways to assist and make the country better…everybody always quick to point finger but y’all dont want help one another…soon as you see someone start doing good y’all get jealous and bad man and stop support…that why foreigners keep coming and doing better than us…cause they support each other…y’all just sit on y’all ass and find things to complain about…how bout you get up and do something positive…stop watch ppl for the tings they have and word towards your own…you sound like a petty fool…

  6. Now, tell me to this person who said they are fed up with the power house. Let me make this clear, why would you wanna blame the Gov’t for the falling of OMG? They single handedly caused their demise. They overpaid themselves. I have a business n if I realize that its struggling, what do I do? Hold off on my big pay. Why all the supporters of OMG don’t dip their hands into their pockets and assist the company? All you guys doing is playing a blame game. I’M FED UP of this. In business you cannot be partisan and OMG failed to understand that. Do like king Obstinate, red or blue call them family. We in a dig eat dog world n we better roll with the punches. OMG have mouthpieces on programmings that places a dent on their business and management are afraid to have then curl their tongue hence the station lost popularity. The Derrick’s must be twisting in their graves to see their legacy crumble because of lack of business understanding.
    In the future, better management skills are required and the mouthpieces need to know when act according to KENNY ROGERS song “The gambler”. Peace out… may God bless and keep you. The same Hon. Gastin Browne will ‘try’ to assist.

  7. Observer hasn’t been the same Observer we knew and loved in the days of Winston Derrick. However, they remained my #1 radio station. I’m looking forward to the new management with the hope that they will bring the new Observer back to what it used to be. Good luck guys!

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