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Journalist George Alleyne passes

Journalist George Alleyne passes
George Alleyne (GP)

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Journalists across the Caribbean are mourning the death of colleague George Alleyne who died suddenly at his home on Friday.

Alleyne, 61, who is Guyanese by birth, spent almost 40 years in the profession.

The following tribute was paid by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers, with input from Bert Wilkinson and Julius Gittens.

Ian George Alleyne started his journalistic career at the Government Information Service in the early 1980s. He then transferred to the state-owned Guyana Chronicle, the lone daily newspaper at the time.

Recognising his talent and sharp intellect, management placed him in a cadet training scheme from which he emerged with flying colours.

He served at the Guyana Chronicle until around 1989 when he migrated to Canada. George covered politics, sports and trade while at the Guyana Chronicle and published several articles for ethnic newspapers in Canada while there up to mid-95.

He returned to Guyana, spent a few years, and then joined his Barbadian father and sisters in Barbados. There he joined the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) as an information specialist, sub-editing, reporting and writing features on the news desk of the CANA Wire Service until its merger with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union to become the Caribbean Media Corporation in 2000.

For the last eight years he was a freelance reporter for Barbados Today. He was also a very active contributor to New York-based Caribbean Life newspaper – the largest Caribbean publication in the NY metropolitan area, covering regional affairs.

He was the father of Tendai, born in Guyana but raised in Barbados and the Cayman Islands, where George had also worked as an editor and writer.

Apart from journalism, George was an avid sports fan – football in particular. He was a senior executive of Western Tigers Division One football team in Guyana in the 1980s and covered the sport periodically for the Guyana Chronicle, happily volunteering if staff were short.

He was at one time active in the Young Socialist Movement (YSM), the youth arm of the People’s National Congress (PNC) in Guyana, but eased out because of his journalistic commitment. George was a committed and avid regionalist and believed in Caribbean unity.

A staunch advocate of regional food sovereignty, George believed his native Guyana should be the breadbasket of the Caribbean and thus reduce our US$5 billion-plus annual import bill. His sudden and untimely death deprived him of the chance to fulfil his dream of being an established weekend farmer.

Though in recent years he had been battling some health challenges, George still found the time to pound away at the keyboard, as ever passionately devoted to the idea of a vibrant, productive and purpose-driven Caribbean civilisation and to a craft that daily seeks to tell its story as he would – comprehensively, earnestly and fearlessly.

The Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) expressed shock and sadness at his passing and expressed condolences to his family, including sisters Myrtle Pitt, Ann Wallace, Grace Alleyne and other relatives. (PR/SAT)