Wayne Modeste – A great newspaper soldier

Following is the tribute paid to late Editor at THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Wayne Modeste at his funeral service and mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Church Street, St. George’s last Thursday by Consultant with the paper, George Worme:

Editor Wayne Modeste – was finally laid to rest last week Thursday

One bright morning when my work is over,
I will fly away home.
I say fly away home to Zion
(Fly away home);

These words are taken from a song penned by the legendary and Iconic Jamaican, Caribbean and Third World rastaman, the late Bob Marley.

I never thought that I would have to be borrowing a line or two from Brother Bob – SO SOON – to pay tribute to someone who spent a lot of his working years with me.

It’s kind of hard for me personally to accept that Wayne has passed away – at such a young age – and is no longer with us in flesh.

On Saturday, someone sent me a message on whatsapp and it was rather touching and made me do some more soul searching and deeper reflection on death and the passing of someone who was an important cog in THE NEW TODAY vehicle.

The person said in reference to Wayne’s death: “You have lost a great soldier. He has now gone to the great beyond. May his soul rest in peace. Amen”.

Yes, “A GREAT SOLDIER” not only for THE NEW TODAY newspaper but the entire newspaper industry.

I will not call Wayne a Journalist in the pure sense of the word. He was a serious newspaper man – not a quack in the media as can be said about some who are now posing in the profession.

Wayne – as our Editor – understood the newspaper business and what it takes to get the job done week after week.

He was a vital and critical member of Staff who played an invaluable role in the final product that hit the streets of this country every Friday…. I am referring to THE NEW TODAY newspaper.

Some may not like to hear it… but he played an important hand in making THE NEW TODAY the No.1 Selling newspaper in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique as recent surveys showed.

I can recall one of my proudest moments in the profession — and people like Wayne, Justin “Crowe” Mc Burnie and Oliver Nedd were all a part of it…. with the now defunct GRENADA TODAY newspaper.

The Maurice Bishop Murder trial had ended and the verdict was read out to the 17 persons on trial when our newspaper was already with the printers in Trinidad.

We then pondered on the idea of doing a “Special” Edition of the paper. We had to do it in two days and get it down to the printers. So we worked the entire weekend to do this Special Edition – the first and only newspaper that did it.

And Wayne was most instrumental in its production. He worked with us for the entire weekend and his job was still not done.

It was Wayne who had to leave the office, run straight to Liat and catch the plane on the Sunday night to go down to the Express to get this very important paper printed and bring each and every copy up with him for us to put on the street.

We also had to keep it secret so our competitors will not know what we were doing. Wayne came back up with this historic paper and within hours not one copy could have been found on the streets in St. George’s or elsewhere in the country.

I can remember one individual purchasing about 30 papers of that special edition – a first for any local newspaper and you know what – the idea came from WAYNE – let us do a special.

I can go on and relate some of the other fine times that we all spent with him at THE NEW TODAY. But time does not permit.

I do not want this tribute that I am doing not only on my behalf but the rest of us at THE NEW TODAY to turn out into something like the Eulogy.

Wayne left firm instructions behind that there should be no Eulogy at his funeral and we have to respect that.

His passing has indeed left a serious void in the NEW TODAY and cannot be filled overnight….if ever at all.

Here, one is talking of someone with over 25 years of experience in the newspaper business. This is not a rookie but an individual who rose through the ranks and had made up his mind at a very young age to be a part of the media fraternity.

If he was motivated by the dollar he would have left the profession within months of coming into contact with it. The Media in Grenada especially in the Newspaper industry is hard, hard, work and in most cases not enough money to go with it.

As I end my tribute to Wayne, I think of the family – his wide Sandra, son Dovevil and adopted daughter……

I say to you: Suffering a loss can leave you facing an uphill struggle, but even in the deepest despair, we can find hope”.

This is a family that is grounded in the Catholic Faith should understand that God has other plans for Wayne and decided that it was probably time for him to “Fly Away Home” to meet the Creator.

As “Michael Learns to Rock” says in the song “Breaking My Heart”: “This is where our journey ends”.

I am talking about the life on earth but Wayne is not finished as someone greater than man has called him home to do something else….. I don’t think that it is newspaper work.

Wayne was a committed Catholic and called “Uncle Wayne” in the COR movement involving Catholic youths. His wife was also called “Auntie Sandra” by those associated with COR.

The Wayne that I know will like to tell us assembled here today and especially Sandra and Dovevil: “Don’t think of me as gone – I am with you still – in each new dawn”.

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