By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Approximately 60 employees of the Observer Media Group (OMG) in Antigua and Barbuda were informed earlier this month that the company will cease all operations on November 30, 2018, which has now resulted in some controversy over severance payments.
The Observer Media Group has been plagued with financial issues and litigation, since the death of its two founders, brothers Samuel ‘Fergie’ Derrick and Winston Derrick.
Earlier this year, OMG’s chief operating officer Darren Derrick announced a private placement of 45 percent of all issued shares in the group companies
However, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission stopped the offer, characterising it as illegal because of OMG’s inability to publish its audited accounts.
Georgia Derrick, the late Winston Derrick’s daughter, also warned the public not to purchase shares.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has advised OMG staff to take urgent action to ensure that their interests are protected in the planned closure.
The prime minister said he is concerned about reports regarding the calculation of severance pay.
“So the issue to me is how the staff of Observer Media Group can protect their interest,” Browne said on local radio.
“My advice to the staff of the Observer Media Group is that they need to get legal advice and to pressure the Derricks to honour their commitments to them. They should not allow them to offer them any sort of credit they should pay them up front,” the prime minister added.
He said severance payments should be the company’s primary obligation.