BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday May 14, 2109 – One of the founders of Barbados’ Nation newspaper has died after a long illness, and Prime Minister Mia Mottley is among several people who have paid tribute to his contribution to the profession.
Veteran journalist Harold Hoyte died at home on Sunday morning at the age of 77. He had been ailing after suffering an aneurysm while on holiday in Florida at the end of 2017.
In a statement issued after his passing, Mottley said Barbados had lost one of its great patriots and she had lost a dear friend.
“The country has lost a prized son who has contributed more than his fair share to the development of post-Independence Barbados. It would be impossible to separate the name Harold Hoyte from the path of journalism in Barbados and the Caribbean over the past 60 years. Equally, it would be impossible to separate him for the story of success of the enterprise known as the Nation Newspaper,” she said.
“In my eyes, Harold Hoyte was more than worthy to hold any and all offices in this land. He volunteered his time and intellect in ways too numerous to count,” she added, noting that one of his seminal contributions was his service on the Commission on Law and Order, established during his tenure as Attorney General under a previous Barbados Labour Party administration.
In its tribute, the Barbados Broadcasting Authority said Hoyte’s name would forever be etched indelibly on the pages of media history in the country.
“Perhaps our best tribute to this eminent journalist, who often shared his political analysis in the broadcast media during elections, is to raise the bar in the quality of our local journalism,” the Authority’s chairman Dr Allyson Leacock said.
“Let us all place less emphasis on being a star and more on the substance of the story; less on fake news and more on facts; less on personality and more on principle. Harold Hoyte was an exemplar for the media profession. We honour his work and salute his legacy.”
The Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) also spoke highly of the late Hoyte, who founded the Nation Newspaper in 1973 with several others and served as Editor-in-Chief for three decades.
It said his death has left a gaping hole in the media fraternity.
“He was a colossus in the news information profession as a founder of the Nation Publishing Company Ltd., and a mentor and coach to an array of journalists in this country….The name Harold Hoyte is synonymous with excellence and integrity in the field of journalism,” BARJAM said.
At a regional level, Hoyte was also recognized.
The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) said he was an outstanding media owner, leader and journalist.
“Harold was the type of leader, colleague and friend anyone would need to have if they desired success in the media and communications industry. He was a friend, mentor and support to many of us in the fraternity in the Caribbean. He had a brilliant journalistic mind which he used for the betterment of the region,” said CBU president Gary Allen.
“Through his leadership, mentorship and his kindness in the profession Harold touched many lives and accomplished a lot. His work exceeded the proficiency of leading the Nation Newspaper as a strong journalistic publication and successful business and guided the fight for press freedom regionally and beyond.”
Hoyte retired from the Nation in December 2006 and was Editor Emeritus up until he died.
Earlier this month, the home of the Nation Publishing Co. Ltd was renamed from Nation House to honour Hoyte and the late Sir Fred Gollop, one of the other founding members. The building is now called the Harold Hoyte and Fred Gollop Media Complex.