The monumental changes that Kaieteur News brought – By Adam Harris

Things are not always what they seem. On Thursday, the publisher of Kaieteur News hosted a gala to mark the occasion of the newspaper’s 25th Anniversary and the launching of Kaieteur Radio. The venue was the Pegasus. The event attracted friends, advertisers, staff members, and of course, relatives and family members of the publisher.

The smiles were there for all to see; everything seemed grand as indeed it was. But it was not all that it seemed. Glenn Lall was like an expectant mother experiencing labour pains. He could not stay still. He wanted everything to be spot on.

The programme got underway and he began to relax. I was sitting next to him at the head table and I could literally feel him relax. The programme continued and Glenn Lall the man emerged. I felt his shoulders shaking. He was crying.   

I did not want my friend to be crying in front of a hall full of people so I asked him to slow down. And he did. Forget his review of where he began with the newspapers; forget his appreciation of the people who have been with him for two decades and slightly less; forget the road to success, but I couldn’t forget the love he showed for the people who helped him along the way.

There was Yesu Persaud, himself a successful businessman, who saw something in Glenn Lall. There was Nazar Mohamed, one of the most successful gold merchants in the history of the country. There was Justice Claudette Singh who adopted him. All these people were there to share the moment with him.

I was there when Kaieteur News celebrated its tenth anniversary. The venue was the Georgetown Club; the head of state was Bharrat Jagdeo. In his address, Mr. Jagdeo announced that Guyana needed more Glenn Lalls.

Fifteen years later, he more than likely wishes there was never a Glenn Lall. Guyana indeed needed more than one Glenn Lall, because through his newspaper, he tackled every corrupt act that he became aware of. His relentless pursuit of indiscretion had a cost.

I remember when someone firebombed the printery while it was located aback of Eccles. Then the unthinkable happened. I was having a drink at the Blue Iguana, one Tuesday night, when I got a call. Five of my colleagues were shot dead at the press.

That incident reduced the staff, and particularly Glenn Lall, to tears. And as a tribute to the men, the company continued with that publication. No other newspaper ever experienced such a tragedy. Kaieteur News did in its first twenty-five years.

Of interest is the fact that Glenn knew nothing about newspapers, except that they contained messages on paper. Tell him that today and you will enjoy the kind of language reserved for the fish market. The English have linked such language to Billingsgate.

Now there is a radio station. It emerged the same day the newspaper celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Both the radio and the newspaper are inextricably linked.

The radio station should have been a part of the landscape many years ago. Glenn applied, but was ignored. Jagdeo, Donald Ramotar and Anil Nandlall concluded that if the newspaper was attacking them so much, and every day, then the radio station would be attacking them every minute.

That station is now a reality. Again, Glenn knows nothing about radio, but he knows what he wants. He wants something that is going to be different; something that is going to be a meaningful addition to the landscape.

He designed his station. Then he sought the equipment. I am convinced that he has the most modern studio in the country and probably one of the best in the region.

He got the licence about a year ago, but he took his time. I was afraid that the licence would be revoked for non-use, but he said to me that whenever he did something he does it well.

Before Thursday’s launch he was as nervous as a deer in the sights of a predator. He bellowed at people; he cajoled, but he didn’t beg.
When he sat before the microphone to launch his radio I expected him to be nervous. We were going live and many people are afraid of microphones. If he felt any fear he didn’t show it. His presentation was flawless.

When it was all over I asked him whether he felt like a drink. He didn’t even smile. He simply said that this was the time to get drunk. I did not expect to see him at work on Friday but he was there; very early having partied into the wee hours of the morning.

He is my friend. We talk a lot and we plan. I remember when we planned the format of the newspaper at the time we were contemplating going daily. Many of our decisions were taken at Palm Court. Two of the enduring columns grew out of our meeting at Palm Court—Dem Boys Seh and The Baccoo Speaks.

The design of all the newspapers in the country was dictated by Kaieteur News. There was a time when newspapers carried the main story on the front page. Kaieteur News changed that. The headlines and the most eye-catching photograph now adorn the front page. It is the same with every newspaper.

The radio station is about to change the landscape.

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Comments

  • Allison Mitchell  On April 9, 2019 at 7:34 am

    I enjoyed the read

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