You have to care before you can love

Wow! We are truly impressed by what an avid fan Prime Minister Gaston Browne is of OBSERVER media. He has labelled us as the Antiguan news conduit to the world, boldly stating in Parliament that “All of the information emanating from this country that goes international, emanates from the OBSERVER newspaper.”   And judging by his in-depth knowledge of our programming, it is clear that he does not change his radio dial from 91.1FM. We had been skeptical in the past when told that the PM “dun rip off de radio dial, long time” but now we believe.

In today’s ultra competitive market, loyal listeners like the PM are increasingly hard to come by, so we would like to thank him for his loyalty and for boosting the OBSERVER brand to other Antiguans and Barbudans and the world.

PM Browne is a busy man so we consider it a badge of honour that he devotes so much of his limited time to listening to our informative programming as we push to fulfill our motto of “Let there be light.” And even though the PM has decided to don his best Donald Trump impersonation, and brand us a threat to this country, we know that he loves us. As we have said many times before, if people did not take the time to criticise you, then that is the time that you should be worried because it shows that they do not care.

Taking the opportunity to highlight OBSERVER and our good work in Parliament is a clear demonstration that the PM cares. Even when he labels us as the “OBSERVER Misinformation Paper” and says, “So, I want to say that Observer right now is a threat to this country”, it demonstrates to us that he really cares about what we have to say. He may be misguided in what he perceives our intent to be, and he obviously misunderstands what is being said, but we will sort that out in due course (because we care too!)

Today is not the day to say the PM is wrong because today we shall revel in the affection that the PM has shown towards our small news organisation. That said, we will challenge him to produce all of the misinformation that he alleges emanates from our organisation.

And while we revel in all this affection, we must say that we did not think that it was necessary to throw shade at the Antigua Broadcasting Service (ABS) in order to highlight our achievements. We are sure that the folks of ABS work hard at what they do and were probably a bit crestfallen when the PM, once again, proclaimed OBSERVER as the international news source of choice for all things in our bit of paradise. Who knows, maybe it is the PM’s way of showing tough love.

In any case, we want to say thank you to the prime minister for all of his support and his loyalty. We hope that the love spreads virally through the ranks and we will be on the lips of all of is colleagues soon. We do not want to be greedy but two days of OBSERVER in Parliament has whetted our appetite and has us wanting for more.

And to show that we care, as well as to show our appreciation, we will give just a few bits of feedback. First, it would do the PM well to get the facts straight before he raises his blood pressure for no reason. We have reviewed the recordings of the PM’s rant against OBSERVER media and we can find no specific examples of any of the wrongdoing of which we have been accused. Even when he moved into specifics, the PM made a false claim that we initiated the reporting on the amount of the alleged bribe which was highlighted in the March 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes published by the United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

The INCSR report makes mention of a “… payout of close to $8 million in bribes by Brazilian construction contractor Odebrecht.” At no time have we reported on $8 million in bribes as the PM alleges and if the PM has evidence of that, then we ask him to produce it. He made the assertion in Parliament so unless he can provide the hard evidence, we expect that he will show some love and retract the statement and issue an apology. In a house of honourable men and women, that certainly would be the honourable thing to do. Plus, does it really matter if it is $3 million or $8 million when we are talking about bribes?

We know that once the PM looks at the facts and not the “alternative facts”, he will see the light in the darkness and know that his perceptions of OBSERVER media are misguided. We are welcoming of anyone who shares the love we have for Antigua & Barbuda and once PM Browne’s perceptions about our organisation are corrected, we are sure that his love will blossom.

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