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OUR CARIBBEAN: Hoyte’s Eyewitness an inspiration


Rickey Singh

OUR CARIBBEAN: Hoyte’s Eyewitness an inspiration

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HAROLD HOYTE is a name synonymous with professional journalism in his native Barbados.
He is also one of the most honoured journalists of our Caribbean Community; widely respected for his commitment to promoting ethical guidelines for elevating the profession, with which he has been involved for some 50 years, as well as an admirable regional team player in defence and preservation of Press freedom.
Author of How To Be A Bajan, published in 2007 when the world’s cricket lovers came to this region for the historic World Cup, Harold has now further embedded the fine qualities of his journalism with his offering of a 342-page book, Eyewitness To Order And Disorder, which chronicles 50 years of passionate and stimulating writings on social and political events in Barbados.
This inspiring work by Harold is more descriptive than analytical, perhaps by design.
A pioneering journalist, Harold and a few other like-minded colleagues, foremost among them the lawyer (now Sir) Fred Gollop, were to make a reality the historic creation of the Nation Publishing Company.  
For Sir Fred, now also chairman of the regional media conglomerate, One Caribbean Media (OCM), Eyewitness To Order And Disorder “chronicles the significant political events of Hoyte’s career (from 1959 to 2009), the personalities and issues, the triumphs and disasters. It is a literary walk, guided by a reporter with an unerring gaze and an admirable understanding of the issues of the day . . .”.
Mixing typical candour and humility, the author states in the preface of this must-read “ringside account of 50 engaging years”, that having “often criticized our political leaders for failing to document their own period of service, it was difficult for me to sidestep this (self-imposed) assignment, tedious though it was . . .”.
Personally, I found quite insightful the author’s account of examples of intriguing “power plays”, as listed under functioning of Parliament; his recollections of “three memorable elections”; as well as episodes of “prevarications”. The latter include Day Terror Struck (bombing of a Cubana passenger aircraft by anti-Cuba and CIA-funded terrorists over Barbados) and a Coup Attempt by self-styled Barbadian revolutionary, Sydney Burnett-Alleyne.
However, what I consider surprising, given the author’s quite arresting recollections of that abominable Cubana bombing tragedy of October 6, 1976, is the absence of any mentioning of the October 1983 United States invasion of Grenada.
I have recollections of THE?NATION newspaper’s coverage of events prior to, during, and after that unjustified military invasion for which Barbados had also played a key supporting role.
This, my weekly Our Caribbean column, originally introduced by Harold in 1984, would have liked to benefit also from the author’s “eyewitness” account – whatever the perspective – of the role played by the then Barbados Government, knowing of the trauma experienced by Barbadians of that 1976 bombing tragedy.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.

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