Get out! That was the message delivered by the eviction notice that arrived on our doorstep. It came out of the blue. The dispatch, sent by Attorney-at-Law Nicholette M. Doherty, on behalf of the joint liquidators of Stanford Development Company Limited (In Liquidation), Marcus Wide and Hordley Forbes, was dated 26th July, 2018 and delivered to the OBSERVER premises the very next day. Not that there is anything particularly nefarious about the date but simply to point out the coincidence to the date foretold by the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) talking heads earlier this month who loudly proclaimed that this July month-end would be the end of OBSERVER.
We can’t say that we were not warned because more than one person told us that there was a big move planned to get rid of us, and it would be executed shortly after the general election. The timing was to allow almost five years to pass before the next general election because “yuh kno how easy Antiguans forget!” Not that there is anything particularly nefarious about the sale or that it is part of any grand political strategy, but simply to point out the coincidence as to the timing of it all.
This latest development comes as a surprise to us because we had been dealing in good faith with the liquidators through their appointed agent, Ambassador Gilbert Boustany, with a view towards making the airport location our permanent home. After spending a very long time negotiating a deal, the trail went cold. The formal approval for the sale never materialised, and we continued along the month-to-month arrangement that was our only option because of liquidator’s desire to sell; or so we were told. Then, in May of 2016, then minister Asot Michael made a visit to the premises with a contingent, prompting our Chief Operating Officer Darren Derrick to write to Ambassador Boustany, “I am very concerned as I am told that Asot [Michael] brought a contingent through the buildings. In my mind, that could only mean one thing but I will await your confirmation.” He added, “I fear that the receivers will renege on the deal for the purchase of the property.” There was no response. Not that we are saying that there is a connection between the visit by MP Michael and the eventual sale but simply to point out the coincidence that all discussion to progress the sale never occurred.
It is said that there are no accidents in life, only coincidences and that that there are no coincidences in life, only the illusion of coincidences. So we can only presume that these coincidences are merely illusions of accidental coincidences, but we suspect we will eventually know the truth. And while these coincidences exists, it does not get by the fact that we are tenants of a property with no arrears, who have the greatest interest in the property, who have invested significant sums into the property, who have maintained the property and surroundings, and who have agreed with the liquidator’s agent to purchase, but we have received a “notice to quit” rather than an agreement to purchase.
Maybe Marcus Wide or Hordley Forbes can enlighten us and the public about the process of selling the assets of Stanford Development Ltd. We know, for sure, that the victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme would be very interested in the details. But none of this helps us or our loyal readers and listeners. We have been given an unrealistic time of just three months to move while having to defend ourselves from political and economic attacks during the slowest economic time of the year. Likely just more coincidence, right?
Despite the odds against us, we shall press on and continue to serve the people of this nation with dignity with our heads held high for as long as we can. We will not yield to political pressures and will prefer to go down fighting rather than make any concessions to the trust given to us by the people.
It is interesting that we are relevant to so many people who loudly proclaim that we are irrelevant – talking heads on radio and paid bloggers who hide in anonymity and comment more than any other contributors on our website, antiguaobserver.com. They seek to criticise every bit of content that we produce while attempting to spin political gold out of straw arguments. These are the people who foolishly cheer our demise because they consider themselves on the inside but likely the same ones who will weep on the day they find themselves out of favour and standing lonely on the outside. Not to worry. Even then, we will not turn our backs on them because they too have a voice that should not be stifled. They can ask their political deity, Prime Minister Gaston Browne about how that feels.
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