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With all the bile hurled at NEWSCO, with all the ill will and malevolence thrown our way by those who despise a free and independent media, it is a small miracle that NEWSCO is still very much alive and kicking. True, we have had our challenges, particularly during this extenuating period of Covid-19, but we have persevered. And we can say, much like the scripture: “In all these things, we are more than conquerers . . .” (Romans 8:37) In fact, Maya Angelou’s classic poem, STILL I RISE, sums up the NEWSCO story quite nicely: “You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise / Did you want to see me broken? / Bowed head and lowered eyes? /Shoulders falling down like  teardrops / Weakened by my soulful cries? / You may shoot me with your words / You may cut me with your eyes / You may kill me with your hatefulness / But still, like air, I’ll rise. . .”

          To be sure, none of this would have been possible without the loyal support  of the listeners and readers of Antigua and Barbuda, indeed, the world. You have risen to the occasion in a most admirable way, and stood four-square behind us. History will record your heroism and commitment as a banner moment. Not forgetting to mention the financiers – the wonderful patriots who gave so generously behind the scenes to fund the fledgling NEWSCO. Those yearning to breathe free are grateful. As are the voiceless, who, prior to OBSERVER media, had no voice. It was a Stygian period of suffocating darkness. The nation is grateful.

We will never forget Winston and Kim and Fergie and Tubby, and all those saw the need, and did every thing in their power, going as far as the Privy Council to ensure that the motto on the masthead of our paper – LET THERE BE LIGHT, could become a reality. Needless to say, “There was light!” And so many years later (Observer began by fax in 1993), there still is much light.

May that light ever shine in the dark corners. May NEWSCO ever be a beacon, indeed, the tribune – the champion of the peoples’ rights and interests. May Observer ever be “the place where any and everybody, without fear or favour, can call-in and say what they have to say about it, without worrying who feel one way or another.” May Observer ever be the great marketplace of ideas  

Of course, there are those who still have a hankering for the bad old days when the State media was nothing more than a hallelujah chorus for the government, and the ruling family controlled the other broadcast entity that pushed the family narrative. We believe that those days are long gone, never to return. In fact, it is an appreciation for the unfettered flow of ideas and perspectives that is allowing NEWSCO to flourish. Exhibit A: The Barbuda OBSERVER event, as well as the OBSERVER DAY conceived of, and overseen, by Dame Eusalyn Lewis and a very capable team of OBSERVER supporters. We thank the Dame and all those who gave unstintingly to a most worthy cause. We also sincerely thank the Barbudans, as well as those who have been purchasing OBSERVER T-shirts.

And yes, we cannot forget our many faithful advertisers. Without your ad dollars, we would be forced to close shop. We will always endeavour to give you a good bang for your buck. 

Happy birthday, NEWSCO. You have exceeded the wildest expectations of Antiguans and Barbudans, silencing the nay-sayers and confounding the critics. Hip-hip hooray! Here’s to many more years of good radio and print media. May NEWSCO ever blossom and flourish!

We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.