Alister Hughes passes
March 4, 2005

Alister Hughes passes

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada BBC – The funeral of well-known Grenadian journalist Alister Hughes is to take place today, Friday March 4th. Hughes died Monday morning at the age of 86 after a prolonged illness.

He had been at the forefront of Grenadian journalism and was known across the Caribbean as the definitive voice covering the October 1983 American invasion of Grenada.{{more}}

On October 19th 1983, Hughes had been the only journalist to interview the then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop after he was released from house arrest.

When asked for a comment, the only words that he caught from Bishop were “the masses, the masses”. Bishop was then taken to Fort Rupert where he was shot dead.

Hughes was arrested after that interview and only released on October 25th when American and Caribbean forces invaded the island.

Hughes had been at the forefront of Grenada’s turbulent political history from as far back as the days leading up to independence. In 1974, while covering the return of Premier Eric Gairy from presenting a case for independence in England, Alistair was beaten by a member of Gairy’s secret police, known as the Mongoose Gang.

In early 1974, he covered the events of what was later to be known as “Bloody Monday” when thousands of Grenadians who came out to protest against the Gairy Regime were attacked, beaten, tear gassed and fired upon by the Mongoose Gang.

Despite the violence and the danger to his life, Hughes provided live coverage of the attacks.

This led to his being given a special award by the Caribbean Publishers and Broadcasters Association for personal courage and professional persistence during the period of Grenada’s independence.

Five years later, following the ouster of Sir Eric by the Maurice Bishop led People Revolutionary Government, Alister Hughes found himself unpopular with the new Bishop administration. For the next three years he and his wife were often threatened and intimidated.

Alister Hughes was not just a prominent journalist. He was a founding member of the Caribbean Conservation Association and the Grenada National Trust.

But it was as a journalist that Hughes will be remembered. He reported for the world’s top news organisations – AP, AFP, the BBC and ABC.

In 1994, he was given an honorary law degree by the University of the West Indies for outstanding service to the media and press freedom in the Caribbean.

He has also been honoured by his peers through the Caribbean Media Workers Association.

In January, Grenada’s journalists and politicians marked the veteran journalist’s birthday with a reception.