Journalism lost two of its best sons
More than two decades ago, the late great Carl Wint came to me one evening in The Gleaner newsroom and asked me to introduce an aspiring young journalist to my crime beat sources. He said the young man had great potential, but he needed to broaden his horizons and establish himself on the beat.
The youngster went by the name Glenroy Sinclair. And if I remember correctly, at the time he was working in the mail room but would occasionally pen a story for the local paper. I introduced him to every policeman I knew. I even took him to the office of the Minister of National Security, at the time K.D. Knight, making the necessary introductions.
In the weeks and months that followed, 'Sinco' took to crime reporting like a fish to water. In literally no time, he had developed a strong cadre of sources that made him into the country's leading crime reporter. There was a time when as soon as I got a tip about a developing story, Sinclair would also have it. Soon after, he was getting them long before I did.
It was exciting to watch him go. He got such a rush from covering crime, it got you excited, too. The most exciting times were those spent covering ACID, or as they eventually became known, the Special Anti-Crime Task Force.
Each of those assignments ended with a drink-up at a little bar at their headquarters on Ruthven Road in St Andrew.
It is there that Sinco developed a reputation as a man who could hold his liquor, an attribute that endeared him to the police corps. On many occasions, he would drink us all under the table.
I remembered once, while heading back to the office in the news car after a significant round of binge drinking, I could barely see straight or put the sentences of my lead paragraph together in my head, and there he was, chatting with the news car driver like he didn't have gallons of Heineken coursing through his veins. The man was a legend.
I left The Gleaner a few years later, but Sinclair continued to thrive as the top crime reporter in the country, and I was glad that I was able to play a small part in his development.
When Gary Spaulding first walked into The Gleaner newsroom a few years after I had started working there, I didn't quite know what to make of him.
What I soon found out was that he was a very good writer, very argumentative, and very political. He could be a bit miserable, too, but it was all part of the fabric of his unique character.
He hung out with another colleague, Warren Wint, who actually took me on my first crime assignment. He and Gary were like twins.
Gary established himself on the political beat, and together, with people like Hugh Bembridge, Ann-Marie Mittoo, Grace Virtue, Mark Dawes, Claire Clarke, and Gordon Williams, formed what was the most formidable news team on the island and perhaps in the Caribbean. To this day, I believe we were the best and the brightest.
As you would have all known by now, Gary went on to become one of the most respected and admired political journalists in the country.
It was only a few months ago, in one of my rare visits to The Gleaner newsroom, that we had a little chat, reminiscing about the days when the newsroom was a vibrant place, full of creativity, and marshalled by the likes of Carl Wint, Franklyn McKnight, Lloyd Williams, Ken Allen, Wyvolyn Gager, JC Proute, and Calvin Bowen.
Glenroy and Gary died within hours of each other a week ago, and I am still trying to come to grips with the loss.
The Gleaner is a lot poorer now for their absence, and journalism in this country has taken a massive blow.
Time may have taken us along different paths over the years, but it has not lessened the impact of their sudden and very tragic departures.
Rest in peace, gentlemen.
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