Dr. Mark DaCosta Alleyne, brilliant communications scholar, author, journalist and broadcaster, and former features editor of The Bajan magazine died suddenly on Wednesday, May 20th, in Guatemala City. He was 47.
Mark, associate professor of communications at Georgia State University, died from cardiac arrest at a hospital in Guatemala City, where he had been admitted after apparently developing pneumonia, his long-time friend and former colleague, Reudon Eversley, said. His death was also reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday, May 21st. Mark was overseeing six Georgia State students on a Spanish-language immersion course in Guatemala when he took ill.
He developed pneumonia, was admitted to ICU, then moved to a regular ward on Tuesday May 19th and appeared to be on the mend but went into cardiac arrest during the night and died on Wednesday morning around 9, Reudon said. Funeral services are planned for Atlanta and a memorial service in Barbados.
I thought I would reprise what I wrote back in 2002 when I was forced home by the Labour Commissioner of the Antiguan government on Feb. 1, 2002, on trumped-up allegations of working illegally in the country for eight months. I was working as the news and current affairs consultant and trainer for the independent Observer Radio. I also created and anchored a popular Sunday news review programme called The Big Issues - happily still on the air. This was my first statement on my departure and my views on Caribbean media.
Much has been said about my forced exit from Antigua after I went there in April 2001 to train the staff for a new commercial radio station, Observer Radio, which has since become, according to independent survey, the leading quality radio station in the country.
A lot of this comment has been couched in terms of free movement of skilled Caricom nationals and my political skill - or lack of it. Some of it has been brilliantly insightful; too much of it has been partisan …
Derek Walcott's poem, "A city's death by fire", is a poignant and memorable recollection of the Great Fire of 1948 in Central Castries that razed three-quarters of the town. It left 2,000 people homeless, many of them with nothing left but the clothes on their backs.
Accounts from newspapers of the time speak of the gutting of much of St Lucia's history dating back to Amerindian settlement - the destruction of government offices, including the Education Department to the public library, said to contain one of the best reference sections in the West Indies, to private collections of Carib artefacts and papers since settlement.
Walcott, a gangly 18-yea-old on the cusp of literary greatness after meeting the great Frank Collymore that very year, was a stunned witness who all day "walked abroad among the rubbled tales, shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar". His chronicle by candlelight of Castries's death by fire &…