The tremendous outpouring of love and support was evident as people from all walks of life queued up to make their donations through the different mediums provided during yesterday’s inaugural OBSERVER Goodwill Day, a project organized to guarantee that free and independent media continues to thrive in Antigua and Barbuda.
And NEWSCO Limited, through this medium, expresses sincere thanks and appreciation to all who responded to the clarion call – the members of the public, our ardent supporters, former and current staff, the many volunteers, well wishers, and all who played a part to make OBSERVER Goodwill Day a success.
The aim of the project – conceptualized by former educator and Ombudsman, Dame J.M. Eusalyn Lewis – was to raise a ballpark figure of $300,000 which would go a long way to ensure the preservation of the privately-owned independent media entity.
To this end, donations were channeled through the OBSERVER Goodwill Project’s Go Fund Me and Facebook pages; an account at the Antigua Commercial Bank in the name of NEWSCO Limited – Projects, # 100-004-883; making pledges via telephone; and hand-delivering donations at a station set up outside the ABI Building on Redcliffe Street where NEWSCO is housed on the top floor.
One elderly woman who donated to the OBSERVER Goodwill Project said she has been listening to OBSERVER Radio since the days of Winston Derrick who, along with his brother Fergie, founded the OBSERVER Media Group in 1993.
The woman added that the need for free, independent media is vital for the development of democracy in Antigua and Barbuda, also making the argument that Antigua is not a “communist country”.
Meanwhile, OBSERVER media spoke to National Hero and cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards, who also journeyed to the Redcliffe Street location to make his contribution to the project.
Sir Vivian said the initiative was a good idea to promote democracy in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I think it is just a great initiative and I believe that it is good for our democracy,” he said. “Also, it does give people a voice – especially what you are trying to achieve in raising funds – to let people know exactly that they cannot be afraid.”
Sir Vivian said having different voices and programmes on the radio helps to build better persons.
“There are various things; you do have youth programmes, the marketplace – that is an interesting programme on Saturday morning; the Snakepit. There are so many other radio stations in the country that does some sort of stuff and we need voices and people’s opinion. That is what I think creates a great society and good people in society,” he said.
The amount of donations received by 8 pm yesterday was close to $100,000.
However, the fundraising drive will continue for the next three month to allow well-wishers at home and abroad to continue donating through the Go Fund Me page and NEWSCO Limited – Projects account at the Antigua Commercial Bank.