After more than eight months of waiting, workers of The Barbados Advocate have finally received their outstanding wages and salaries.
Barbados TODAY has been reliably informed that the employees were notified on Tuesday that their lump sum payment will cover May to December 2022 – the period for which they went empty-handed.
“I got my cheque, but I am not jumping for joy yet. Until I go to the bank and get the money in my hands I would not be singing any praises,” one employee declared on Wednesday.
Another employee recalled “I went into the supermarket and said ‘I could now buy anything.’”
“I am very happy,” another upbeat worker declared.
Meanwhile, there remains uncertainty regarding the future of the 128-year-old newspaper which is locked in a series of legal battles. The primary one relates to a deadlock among members of the eight-member board over how the business should be run.
“We are still waiting to hear what is going to happen regarding the future existence of the company,” the worker added.
The Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) welcomed the news that the workers of the Barbados Advocate have finally been paid their outstanding monies.
In a press release, BARJAM noted that the organisation felt duty-bound to represent the interests of The Barbados Advocate staff and promised its continued solidarity.
“We felt their pain and we heard their cries. We rallied with them during their months of despair and now we also rejoice with them in their time of relief and joy,” said General Secretary Emmanuel Joseph.
“This is deserved comfort in the journey of these workers but not the end, as the company’s future is yet to be determined,” Joseph stated.
The welcomed payday for staff came after the High Court lifted an injunction that had frozen the company’s account. That matter involved the divided board and Richard Bryan, one of the surviving sons of the late owner Sir Anthony Bryan.
But while the workers can now breathe a sigh of relief with regard to their outstanding pay, a legal counsel close to the situation pointed out that the substantive case which could see the company placed in receivership is expected to be heard next month before Madame Justice Jacqueline Cornelius.
At the centre of the series of related cases is company director Gail Padmore.
“There are several Advocate cases, and the primary Advocate case is going to come up next month before Justice Cornelius. A preliminary point has been completed. One of the Bryan sons had an injunction against her [Padmore] and the court discharged the injunction,” an attorney, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Barbados TODAY.
“This has to do with the company itself. This is a case that was brought by Gail Padmore. She and a number of other directors are urging that the company be wound up because they can’t agree on how it should run. There is a deadlock.
“The only thing the court could do with the deadlock is to wind up the company. The court doesn’t have the power to decide how the company should be run. What the court could do is appoint a receiver to deal with those issues,” he explained.
Sir Anthony took over The Barbados Advocate in 2000 becoming the first black publisher to own the newspaper since it began printing in 1895.
He died in 2020.