Sunday, November 02, 2008


1st November, 2008.

The Guyanese and Caribbean media fraternity have lost a hero of the modern press.

Mr. David De Caires, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, of Guyana'sindependent Stabroek News newspaper has died. Though a British-trained solicitor, his first love had always beenjournalism- a craft he practiced to perfection along with long timelegal colleague, Attorney-at-Law, Miles Fitzpatrick, SC.

It was those earlier years of journalist practice in a number of magazines that eventually fructified in 1986 with the establishmentof the Stabroek News- Guyana's first privately-owned daily newspapersince the 1970s when the political-economy had forced the closure of several private newspapers.

David's greatest contribution to Guyana's era of glasnost and perestroika, therefore, was the opening up of the media landscape after a period of considerable state-control and authoritarianism under various guises by the then administration. Eventually, the wind of global change had touched the country and David and local and regional associates quickly grasped the moment,resulting in then President Desmond Hoyte fulfilling a promise that Trinidadian media magnate, Ken Gordon, had secured from him during an interview.

While David's name is etched in the annals of Guyanese and Caribbean media history for being instrumental in slackening the clutches of state control on the media several decades ago, he will more latterlybe remembered for his valiant struggle against the withdrawal of government advertisements from the Stabroek News newspaper.

Though that appeared to be a private business matter, he led Guyaneseof all walks of life in defiance against all odds not only for hisentity but for the entire country whose daily decision-making dependon authentic and credible information.

For him and all those who stoodby his side, Guyana must never go back to the dark ages of statecontrol of the media and set a precedent for other countries of thisregion to follow.His was a life of struggle-to-success, dating back to the early days of Stabroek News at the corner of Peter Rose and Anira Streets,Queenstown, when the staff had scooped its competitor and delivered the truth with either non-existent or limited telephone service.

As if that was not enough, the newspaper's content had to be flowneach week to Trinidad to be printed and returned later in the week for distribution. Such were his Caribbean connections to Barbados' Nation;Jamaica's Gleaner and the Trinidad Express.

Eventually, Guyana Publications Incorporated acquired a printing press and benefited from technical expertise provided by sister-newspapers in the Caribbean,resulting in the Stabroek News growing into a daily news-staple.

Our heartfelt condolences to David's immediate family, relatives, the Board of Directors and staff of the Stabroek News newspaper, and his friends in the Guyanese and Caribbean media fraternity.

We are confident that his contribution to the media-landscape will belong cherished and perpetuated by his competent team of editors andstaff.In mourning his loss, we must sustain the torch-light of freedom,truth and justice for which he fought.

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