FRIENDS FOREVER: Al Gilkes (left) and Mighty Gabby (right) sharing in Tim Slinger’s moment. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
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DECADES OF JOURNALISTIC memories poured out on Fontabelle last week as retiring journalist Tim Slinger bid farewell to the Nation.
A range of friends and colleagues of the legendary journalist turned up for the function, including two Gabbys – assistant general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Orlando “Gabby” Scott, and many-time calypso monarch Anthony Gabby Carter. Several former journalists were also in attendance, including former Information Minister Glyne Murray and managing director of Al-Hart PR, Al Gilkes, whom Slinger described as one of his mentors in the profession.
“I have enjoyed every bit of my life as a journalist,” said Slinger, noting that from the very start he “always wanted to be a journalist who stood out – not an also ran.”
He did just that, covering some of the most memorable stories of our time, such as the trial of the Grenada coup plotters, the 1990 coup in Trinidad or the dramatic kidnapping of fugitive Ronnie Biggs, one of the Great Train Robbery convicts.
Laughter and memories flowed as his friend and mentor Al Gilkes paid tribute to him and shared his own memories of the adventures they had been through in their relentless pursuit of the scoop. This included dodging bullets in Trinidad during the coup, facing down tear gas in Barbados in the aftermath of a hostage situation, the fast talking they had to do when faced with some very angry political supporters during the 1989 elections in Jamaica.
Slinger, who retired as Associate Managing Editor of the Nation after stints at the Advocate and CBC, noted that his profession “has its good and bad” highlighting instances where his pursuit of the story severed some friendships or left him alienated from some people.
However he urged the young Nation journalists present to be fearless, stressing: “I want to implore all young journalists – don’t let this stop you from pursuing the story.” (ALF)