My remarks on receiving the National Association of Black Journalists' Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist Award at the NABJ Convention and Career Fair, New Orleans, USA, August 11, 2017
Receiving this award is, for me, one of the more humbling experiences of my professional life. There are few greater tributes a journalist can receive to match the recognition of his or her peers.
I come before you as a Caribbean person, from a small twin-island state, whose ancestry finds roots on the shores of more than one continent. People who came either through force, subterfuge or by choice to a new home we now call our own.
I also come from a land of the freed engaged in a perpetual struggle to become the land of the free. Each step of the way confronting the compulsion, through post-colonial habit, to deny ourselves the freedom we have earned as human beings making our way in a vast universe. And in the process reframing Du Bois’s rhetorical question: “How does it feel to be a problem?”
For the Caribbean journalist, our story is as much an explanation of ‘why’ things happen as it is an honest declaration of ‘what’ we confront as a people – both as the subjects and objects of history. For this reason, journalism in all its convergent manifestations and as the first draft of our story, is a singularly important imperative of our time and a free press one of our most valuable assets.
It is however amazing that as a people whose history emerges from institutionalised coercion, violence and bondage, that the freedom cry in the Caribbean should so tragically roam the social and political wilderness.
This is the challenge my organisation, the ACM, engaged, when we launched 16 years ago, with a message of freedom and a commitment to work harder to claim the power it provides to our people.
Today, my own contribution to this cause has brought me here, as if in sacred communion with peers, brothers and sisters and comrades. “Tell of my love to the islands,” the hymnist writes, “tell it everywhere.”
I cherish this moment to tell of my love for the islands and I vow to continue telling it everywhere.
Thank you for this great honour.