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A remarkable woman

Thursday, January 2 2014

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday expressed their sadness at the passing of Newsday’s Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief Therese Mills.

In a statement, Persad-Bissessar said, “It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of a real stalwart in the field of journalism. She was a woman of substance, a woman of power, who earned the respect of everyone, in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, and the world.”

Persad-Bissessar added, “Mrs Mills changed the way journalists functioned, and I am sure all those journalists who passed through her hands over the past 68 years, can attest to this today.” She said journalism and the country as a whole, “have lost a truly remarkable woman.”

“Mrs Mills was a guiding light to many young persons who wanted a career in journalism. She demonstrated that there was room for a third daily newspaper in TT, although there were influential persons who said otherwise,” she said. Persad-Bissessar said Mills “was responsible in the shortest possible time in getting Newsday to number one position in the MFO Media Survey.”

Persad-Bissessar noted Mills was also an award winning journalist who won a 1989 BWIA Excellence in Journalism Award for most outstanding social and political commentary entitled, “These were no ordinary men” – a saga on the corrupt politics of John O’Halloran, Francis Prevatt and others. She also noted Mills began a career in journalism in 1945.

She noted her first job at the Port-of-Spain Gazette where one of its editors, Andre Paul Terence Ambard, fought a landmark contempt of court case all the way to the Privy Council in 1934, that set out the doctrine of Freedom of the Press.

In his statement, Rowley observed that Mills had dedicated “a lifetime to public communication and information.”

He continued, “Her dedication to her desk, her paper and the free press were hallmarks of a true patriotic contributor to our young nation.”

“We salute her service and acknowledge the solid foundation she has laid for the next generation to build on. The media corps is poorer for her passing,” Rowley said.

TT’s High Commissioner to London, Garvin Nicholas, also extended condolences to Mills’ family and the Newsday staff yesterday on her passing. Nicholas, who served as Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister prior to his diplomatic posting, said, “It is with the greatest sadness that I receive this news. Mrs Mills was one of those journalists that I had great respect for.”

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