by Margaret Hughes
ALISTER HUGHES, Grenadian, Journalist, beloved citizen and democrat was writing till his death in 2005. Born in 1919, he understood, early in his life, the issues of identity, class, colour. He realised that he was born into the ’coloured/brown’ class which was used by the Colonial Masters to keep down ’the masses’ but never quite right enough to rule.
“White alright, brown hang around, black stand back” was a favourite sentence of Alister. His great poem Caribbean Man urges his people to be at Home together in the West Indies rather than hankering back to the ‘rule by decree’ of the distant Colonial Master.
He entered journalism late in life on the death of his father. He had always loved writing and had a column in a Trinidad newspaper before launching The Grenadian Newsletter with his wife Cynthia in 1973
He stood up to two brutal dictatorships in the relentless pursuit of the truth Alister was a brave and well respected man. When he was saved from certain death by a policeman outside Otway House, when Maurice Bishop’s father was killed, the policeman recognised Alister and said ‘you are a good man, I cannot let them do that to you’ see Duffus Report
Good News is that his life’s work is almost completely available on line now, thanks to The University of Florida Digital Library.
1. Grenadian Newsletter www.dloc.com/AA00000053 Alister and his wife Cynthia edited, published and distributed a digest of local news. The complete set of newsletters from 1973-1995 is now available on line.
2. The Duffus Report www.dloc.com/AA00010419
Lord Duffus was sent to Grenada to investigate an incident in downtown St. George’s where police fired on the crowd. Alister Hughes was present with his tape recorder. The tape recording was played on Trinidad radio that night! And was the main piece of evidence at the Duffus Inquiry
3. Maurice Bishop www.dloc.com/AA00014983
This article about Maurice Bishop by Alister offers a new insight into the man. It was discovered among Alister’s papers after his death.
4. Presentation to Alister Hughes www.dloc.com/AA00018724
Alister Hughes did not agree with Colonial Honours. He maintained that ‘they scrambled our brains’ He was delighted with Honours given by his own people He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by UWI for telling the truth through two dictatorships.