Frank Solomon and the Stewart Observer vs Caribbean News Now (commentary by Melanius Alphonse)

Frank Solomon and the Stewart Observer vs Caribbean News Now (commentary by Melanius Alphonse)

The book of life, the Bible, speaks about the judgment of Solomon and how “he tricked the parties into revealing their true feelings by using a fallacious appeal to moderation.”

In the realty of life today, a “fallacious appeal” is exactly the claim by Frank Solomon published in the Stewart Observer (aka the Jamaica Observer, owned and controlled by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, also the owner of Sandals Resorts) that the “online Caribbean News Now newspaper… is privately aligned to [Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston] Browne.” In amusement, we are left to wonder what “privately aligned” means!

Further, subsequent comments by (Frank) Solomon in the Stewart Observer (owned by and publicly aligned to ‘Butch’) that “The online Caribbean News Now, a fake news site which acts as the mouthpiece of Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne, shamelessly prostitutes itself by trotting out a stream of baseless claims and misinformation meant to deceive the unsuspecting,” also reflect the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child.

In reverse order, is the earthly Solomon a shameless prostitute of the Jamaica Observer or Butch? And whose child is he?

In today’s reality the Stewart Observer (owned by and publicly aligned to ‘Butch’) and the columns of Solomon seem caught between two lovers unable to keep them honest, seemingly committed to blind loyalty and wilful ignorance. In addition to that is the question: who is to say that the Observer is not a big joke, itself devoid of legitimacy?
That said, you can understand how such an outpost, obscured by blind loyalty and immune to honesty, attempts to reply to straight talk.

“In a brainless article titled ‘Sandals meddling in Antigua-Barbuda elections’, the website quotes Browne as claiming that Sandals ‘excludes everyone but the owners’, and branded the island’s most respected resort ‘all-exclusive and not all-inclusive’.”

Thus devoid of clarity of purpose and clear thought, Solomon and the Stewart Observer are unable to rebut facts, except to expose their own mental weakness, saying: “But what more can be expected of a mouthpiece which has no respect for the truth? Browne knows that these claims are patently false. That he trots them out anyway suggests that his intention is only to deceive the people of Antigua and Barbuda, in the hope of securing another term in office.”

Surely, a second term in office for Browne scares certain commercial interests who then publish “alternative facts” masquerading as news and commentary, and operate in a business climate of many mysterious dealings, with #something2hide.

The Stewart Observer (owned by and publicly aligned to ‘Butch’) is in no position to claim legitimacy for itself and attempt to delegitimize Caribbean News Now! This is a grave mistake!

Melanius Alphonse.

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at [email protected]


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  1. Butch himself is in no moral or ethical position to take anyone to task for honesty. Leaving behind the only route to riches in the Caribbean being through dishonesty - or inheriting someone else's ill-gotten gains, and Butch's son/s will do - Buitch was once given the management task of Air Jamaica and promptly devalued every aspect of the national airline as a dead-broke prostitute for his own hotel aspirations.

    While Butch Stewart may not have been the ONLY reason why Jamaica had to privatise the airline, by the time the government relieved him of the task he had alreasdy bankrupted it and stripped it of any prospect of profitability, making the air fare the loss-leader in selling packages from the US and Canada to his all-inclusive hotel chain.

    I see no problem in Butch asking for - and expecting - tax free holidays in Antigua, as have been provided to other investors in the past, but I cannot believe that in all this billowing smoke there is not even a spark of fire.

    The same way interCaribbean Airlines in the Turks & Caicos Islands owed/owes the government there over US$4 million in landing fees, Departure Taxes and other legal debts unpaid, so it is rumoured that Butch owes a staggering amount in unpaid employee deductions and other mandatory payments to the government - and now has the cojones to claim they are not owed. Maybe that is the way they do business in Jamaica, but that won't wash in a much smaller country such as Antigua.

    Another question I have about Butch - and about all other hotel and other chains foreign to each country which collect their fees, rates or payments elsewhere, such as on-line through a web site based in the USA. How does the government know that these additional tens of millions - if not hundreds of millions - of dollars are being patriated to the country where the guest stays or the service is performed?

    Leaving aside the sheer corruption and incompetence in Barbados, would they have such a catastrophic foreign exchange problem there is all of the appropriate foreign currencies are actually making it to the country?

    These days, with rare exceptions, our politicians (globally) seem to be coming from or joining the criminal classes, saying one thing and doing another, their hands in the public purse up to the shoulder, accommodating businesses over the people they represent in return for massive kick-backs, with offshore accounts the normal rarther than the exception.

    Our "HOGS" Heads Of Government Summits seem to be more and more an opportunity for these "leaders to put their heads together and plot massive corruption than to come together as a region and do what is best for all who belong. Certainly they take nothing they sign seriously, because when they get back home the people of CARICOM fight on against the same regional headwinds as before.

    I know it seems unrealistic, but as far as I am concerned if a PM is unhappy with a particular foreign business and believes it is nOT contributed to the economy or international picture of the country as agreed, promised or reasonably expected then he/she should give them a deadline and require them to leave. The government can buy the property of business for an amount that is market value, and invite bids from locals and internationals alike to buy it and carry on.

    No person or company - local, regional or international - has a right to carry on a business of any kind and not perform their rightful duties. pay their rightful dues and taxes, and contribute to the host country. As far as Butch and all his various businesses are concerned, they have already been GIVEN too much, it is time that he earned his revenue legally and fairly just like everybody else.

    Politicians, STOP wasting the taxpayers money, STOP making promises you cannot, may not be able to, or have no intention of keeping, do the job you campaigned for and were elected to do, and look after your citizens to your best ability.

    If you get elected and find you cannot take the heat or handle the requirements then RESIGN, now rather than later, so that someone else with more competence can do it properly. Do NOT just hang in there taking your people and your country deeper and deeper into national debt while you hang on to power at any cost.

    Just my opinion.


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