(Barbados Nation) A giant was laid to rest yesterday.
That is how Harold Fitzherbert Hoyte, founder and Editor Emeritus of The Nation Publishing Company was remembered by eulogist Elizabeth Thompson, Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Official Funeral was held at the Wildey Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and was attended by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and other members of Cabinet, dignitaries, wife Noreen, children Bobby and Tracy, other relatives and past and present employees of The Nation.
During the 50-minute recount, Thompson evoked tears, laughter and wry smiles about a friendship that spanned more than 40 years, liberally sprinkled with the history of the company Hoyte co-founded with the late Sir Fred Gollop in 1973, with the help of others.
She recalled the early days of the company at St Mary’s Row and how she got a job writing about youth issues as a 15-year-old, after having penned a letter to Hoyte.
She said the formation of The Nation came at a critical time because it allowed the people of Barbados to see themselves reflected on its pages.
“It was built to ensure that Barbadians had a mirror to themselves. It was built in post-colonial Barbados … seven years after Independence so that those who were voiceless, those who were not represented by the news of the day, those who were underprivileged and poor and felt they had no place in society could find a place and a voice and an expression,” Thompson said.
She recounted the first edition being sold out and the support it received from the people of The City, even at a time when Hoyte was struggling to find money to pay employees, having been black-balled by the business community.
But The Nation grew and thrived and became “an instrument of democracy” as a result of the giant who charted its path.
But what was Harold like, she asked, before answering: “he was wonderful; bright, articulate, engaging, loved a good argument, intellectually stimulating and he had a good sense of humour”.
He also cared about the welfare and personal development of staff, setting up a pension plan, establishing a credit union and also sending them for long and short-term training.
Meanwhile, Rev Michael Crichlow said he saw a different side to Hoyte during their hour-long appointments where they discussed the issues affecting the country and the way it was changing and invited the audience to show love.
There were also tributes in song by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and soloist Deborah Boyce.