One of St Maarten’s leading daily newspapers was forced to close its printery earlier this month as its management could not justify the heavy costs to restart operations following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
The Today newspaper, which employed a number of Guyanese, ceased publication of its print edition on October 6, after 17 years.
According to a statement on the newspaper’s website, during an emotional meeting, the owner, Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr., informed the staff about the decision and offered them three months of salary in exchange for the termination of their contracts.
“It is with great sadness that I, as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief since January 1, 2008, have to witness how all my colleagues have become jobless.
At the same time, I understand the business decision to close down the company,” Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Hilbert Haar said in the statement.
But while the printed edition of the newspaper is “lost forever,” an online edition will continue to be published.
In highlighting the newspaper’s accomplishments, Haar pointed out that in 2010, a series of articles resulted in the political downfall of the country’s first Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor – Maria Buncamper-Molanus. Together with her husband Claudius, she was later found guilty of forgery and tax fraud in the Court in First Instance.
Further, he said another series of articles about the involvement of Justice Minister Roland Duncan with prostitution also indirectly led to the demise of his political career.