We have hit a nerve

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Oh boy!  This whole Observer share thing has hit a raw nerve across the country. From the guy on the street to the prime minister, everyone has something to say about the concept of the free media being placed into the hands of the people.
In an attempt to throw shade on the entire process and concept, Gaston Browne has become very active on social media. In one instance, he posted a meme, which states, “A highly performing and transparent government, makes media entities that specialise in lies, innuendos and half truths redundant.” Like our CEO, we are unsure of the reference or relevance but we must say, we agree with the statement.  In any case, the meme was posted on social media, so there soon appeared another meme, which said, “A highly opaque government that specialises in lies, innuendos and creative self-enrichment makes media entities an absolute necessity.” Some have suggested that the PM’s meme was in response to this other meme, but it is all fairly irrelevant. Plus, all these meme games seem like a childish way to communicate. Yes! We understand that that is the way of the world. Memes, emojis, tweets and three-second videos are the new norm and eventually, we will get used to it; some day.
It is just such a strange stance for a Prime Minister of a country to get involved in a transaction like this, in what is an obvious attempt to derail the process. It is very Trump-like. The way in which he exhibits such hostility towards a private organisation and its owners remind us very much of Donald Trump and his hostility for Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post. With all the boasts of transparency and accountability, an inquiring media should be the Prime Minister’s best friend, yet, for imaginary and other reasons, it is not.
Then there is the whole attack by the PM on the Derricks who he says will make gobs of money on this deal. The insinuation seems to be that they should just walk away empty-handed after 25 years of defending free press, which has been, at times, to his benefit, we might add. It seems that the only people who are allowed to make money in this economic powerhouse are politicians and their families.  ‘Self-enrichment is not a crime’ is the refrain often heard. And, ‘people should look to success to achieve success’ is another. But in this case, making money is suddenly a problem. Instead of championing the cause and promoting a successful local business venture, he is begrudging the sellers of any profit. Apparently, only Gaston Browne is allowed to talk about millions. He can be the only multi-millionaire!  
In our view, criticism of a private entity selling private property is not for the prime minister to criticize, especially not to comment negatively with a view of damaging the sale. It appears vindictive more than anything else. And this goes beyond this specific offer. It applies to any private sale where grown people enter into a consensual transaction voluntarily.  
We shall give you an example. Think of a private individual selling a piece of land. Let’s take it to the extreme and say that the piece of land was sold at a premium price that is not reflective of the other pieces of land that surround it. Would the prime minister get involved? We think not. He would probably say, ‘what is wrong with that?  No one forced anyone else to buy the land. The seller called his/her price and the buyer was willing. So what?!? Smart business!’
Suddenly, the estate of Samuel “Fergie” Derrick calls a price for its shares and he has lots to say. Why the venom from the office of the prime minister? The answer can only be politics and power. The problem is, he is playing politics with an entity and an estate that is not involved in politics or seeking political office. Maybe it is that he does not like the questions asked or the media coverage. Maybe he believes that it should all look like state media – a pat on the back and a toot of the horn.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne should heed the words of his elders who advised, “never damn the bridge on which you have crossed.” He should remember that he was in the wilderness once and Observer was his safe harbour, a place that gave him a voice when he had none.  Now that he has reached the top of the mountain, he has no use for the bridge. But, he should be mindful, he may one day need to return and the bridge may not be there. He will be left by himself with nothing but the echo of his voice.
The prime minister may succeed in his plan to disrupt the people from taking ownership of their voices, but it would be to everyone’s detriment, including his, especially when his party grows weary of his leadership and decides to exile him to the wilderness, once again.

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