Trinidad and Tobago: Leading Journalist Keith Smith Dies

One of Trinidad and Tobago’s leading journalists, Keith Smith, died on Tuesday after losing his battle with cancer. He will be laid to rest on Saturday morning. The church service for Smith will be held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception on Independence Square, Port of Spain, at 9:30am. His remains will be interred at the Crematorium, Long Circular Road, St James. Smith’s family has made a request of no flowers and a donation will be collected for the Cancer Society of Trinidad and Tobago at the funeral.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said she was saddened to hear of Smith’s passing, who she said was more than a journalist — he was a national icon. In the over 40 years he spent as one of this nation’s foremost writers, he stood out as an exemplar of hard work, dedication and patriotism, the prime minister said.In 2009, he won the Humming Bird Silver Medal for journalism.

Keith served as the Express newspaper’s editor at large and was an inspiration and true role model for the youth of the area by showing them that hard work and perseverance could produce such a powerful public figure. Tributes have continued to pour in from friends, readers and people of all walks of life.

In a release yesterday, the Media Association said it joined the rest of the national community in “celebrating the life and mourning the death of Smith, who has left an indelible mark on local journalism.”  It also stated that “Keith became a national institution who was treasured for his wit and his down-to-earth wisdom” and commended his “off-hand but shrewd and searching examination of the threads that make up the fabric of everyday life in Trinidad and Tobago.” Keith’s column was his most popular work and his greatest achievement, but as an editor, he shared the mastery of his craft that he had gained over four decades of experience. ‘He was an inspiration to many, and a gifted proponent of a free and unrestricted press. And no one who knew or worked with him, in or out of the media, will ever forget his larger-than-life, exuberant personality.”

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) also extended condolences to Smith’s family and friends, saying that “His views were frank but balanced, and his opinions were never poisoned with any agenda, but enriched with a patriotic desire to see greatness for Trinidad and Tobago. [. . .] “His ability, even in the later years of his life, to be constantly in touch with the entire spectrum of the young and the old happenings, was a tribute to his sensitivity as a writer, as a person and as a citizen. He truly reflected the times of our life right up to the end.”

For full article, see http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Trinidad-and-Tobago-loses-top-journalist-4963.html, http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/_Express__icon_to_be_laid_to_rest_on_Saturday-115692624.html, and http://www.stabroeknews.com/2011/news/breaking/02/08/trinidad-journalist-keith-smith-has-died/  

For a beautiful tribute, see http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Remembering_Keith-115617944.html

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