Ian 'Magic' Hughes
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 02:31
By Ian Magic Hughes
Prior to the 2004 general elections, the Observer Media Group shed the light on "all that was hidden," much to the demise of the Antigua Labour Party.
Remember the ALP was stuck on secrecy and control of the media to the point where Observer had to take its plight all the way to the Privy Council for authority to operate.
Hey, when Observer won, Antigua & Barbuda rejoiced, for we all won. Well, except the ALP and its supporters.
What was quite evident then was the power of the media in fighting for the people.
Since 2004 and the coming of age of the United Progressive Party, the Observer Group, it seems, is picking its fights.
There is no doubt that Winston Derrick, the publisher of The Daily Observer and the voice of the “Voice of the People," is not a fan of Attorney General Justin Simon.
Why is anybody’s guess, but on a number of occasions, Derrick in particular has called out Simon, who in my view needs to be called out.
Other members of the UPP have been called out as well, mainly due to the fact that government ministers have been refusing to appear on Derrick’s show.
Others members, and the government as well, have been criticized by the Observer for various actions during their eight years in office.
Surely, Wilmoth Daniel has had venom spewed his way via the Snake Pit and its host Algernon “Serpent” Watts.
When Daniel attempted to rent a new office, Serpent uncoiled, lashed out, and begged Daniel to do the right thing and leave taxpayers' monies alone.
Well done Serpent; taxpayers depend on the media to hold public officials responsible.
Fast forward to 2009, and the commissioning of the "new" Chinese power plant, which will cost the taxpayers of this country a minimum of US$52 M.
CARIBARENA.COM, a credible news organisation in Antigua & Barbuda, has uncovered evidence that suggested that this Chinese power plant is not only way overpriced, but also appears to be old.
Where is the passion that Derrick had when Observer rallied the people against former Prime Minister Lester Bird and the ALP?
Remember the issue of the under-aged young woman?
Look, don’t get me wrong, I agreed that Observer and Derrick were correct to pursue anyone, especially one in such a high office on such a matter.
The question is, why is Observer not hot on the trail of the Chinese Power Plant?
As a matter of fact, Derrick suggested that he is not too concerned whether the Chinese Power Plant is old or new. Really?
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer can OK US$52 M for a power plant, and members of the media are not concerned whether that price tag is for a new or old plant?
What happened to the voice of the people?
OK, Observer and Derrick may not understand that such a price is extreme.
The same company that was granted the contract for this power plant claimed that they agreed to this project with Antigua & Barbuda to the price of US$23 M.
The thing is, CARIBARENA.COM, an independent agency, has done all the investigative work, and the evidence is there for the world to see.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of the Chinese Power Plant, millions of words have been stated with many pictures posted.
Where is the Voice of the People demanding answers from the prime minister, Ambassador David Shoul, APUA, and the government?
Why is the loud voice of Derrick so silent on this issue, or even Serpent?
We hope that Derrick will be shouting from the VC Bird Airport from the perch of his new office - the former Sun Printing and Publishing home of Antigua Sun.
Derrick and the Observer may hide behind their love of the prime minister, and may even agree with the stories coming out of the UPP camp that CARIBARENA.COM is the internet arm of the ALP.
What Derrick and Observer cannot deny is the fact that CARIBARENA.COM is a legitimate and credible news agency.
We will not print the letter, at least not this time around, that was sent to a former Observer employee that was fired for working with CARIBARENA.COM.
On Monday, CARIBARENA.COM released a letter written by Minister of Health Wilmoth Daniel to Prime Minister Spencer calling for an investigation into the Chinese Power Plant.
On Tuesday, on his Voice of the People Show, Derrick scoffed at the idea that a news agency should be able to grab hold of such a letter.
Really, Winston Derrick?
That’s what we in the media do.
Did you forget the number of important "dockisments" that Serpent used to release on air and we the people praised for his journalistic skills and boldness? So what now?
Is the prime minister a Snake charmer, putting the Serpent to sleep and awakening him only to lash out at those out of favour?
And what about Derrick, the self proclaimed "fooley boy from Ovals"?
I doubt Derrick is fooled into anything.
He appears to act on his own reasons, a dangerous recipe for anyone with the voice believed to be the “Voice of God”.
The media is a fraternity that should work together for the benefit of the people.
The United Progressive Party has failed the people of Antigua & Barbuda, just like the ALP and the media must come out in defence of the people. How about that?