The News bankrupt after 58 years
18 Nov, 2009, 07:30 (GMT -04:00)
The office of the free English newspaper The News has been closed since two weeks. The court had pronounced an adjudication order at the beginning of this week.
ORANJESTAD — The court had declared the bankruptcy of the English newspaper The News last Monday. A few employees of the newspaper had filed the petition in bankruptcy, as they had not received a large part of their salary for September and October. The bank accounts had been ‘blocked’ by the bank so that the newspaper had not been able to fulfill its obligations. The judge had rejected a request for postponement from the lawyers of the family business.
A loyal reader had given the following comment on hearing the news of the bankruptcy of the newspaper: “No News is bad news.” The court had immediately appointed a curator on Monday to liquidate the property of the bankrupt company and come up with an apportionment amongst the creditors. According to journalist and photographer Rosalie Klein, a former employee and one of the bankruptcy petitioners, the downfall of the newspaper was not only due to financial hard times. “Of course, this had played a role, but personal circumstances of the owners and the lack of management had also contributed to the downfall of the newspaper,” said Klein. The last straw had been the blocking of the newspaper’s bank accounts by Aruba Bank due to mortgage payments in arrears, according to the journalist. Moreover, the company supposedly also had tax problems. The company could no longer fulfill their obligations, amongst which the personnel salaries, after the accounts had been blocked.
The newspaper had been popular with tourists. Gerardus Schouten and his wife Bernadette Schouten-Blanchard had established the newspaper in 1951. Schouten had originally come to the island with his wife to work at the Lago refinery. ‘During strikes, he had started printing a newsletter to keep the employees informed of all developments.’
Even though The Lago Colony had published a small internal paper named the Esso Times, The News is considered as the island’s first English newspaper, Rosalie Klein explains. The newspaper had also been the first Aruban daily paper that became a member of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), an international press organization.
By one’s own account, the newspaper had also been the first daily paper to be printed in color. After Sonia Wever-Schouten had become general director, the newspaper had been the first – and for a long time – the only one that had been published on Sundays.