When I learnt of the passing of veteran journalist and newspaper editor, Ridley Greene, the first word that came to my mind was legacy — that long-lasting impact that an individual has on the lives of others.
It has been quite a few years since Ridley retired from the newsroom of the Nation newspaper and decades since he left the Advocate, but I am absolutely sure that neither time nor absence has been able to erase the contribution he has made, not just to these organisations, but to those who had the privilege of working with him.
While, like me, countless newspaper readers will associate his name with the Nation columns he authored for so many years during an era when newspaper columnists often set the agenda for public debate in this country, across the profession the scores whose work he edited, or who otherwise benefitted from his training, respected him for his devotion to quality and detail. For Ridley, I am told, even a misplaced comma could be viewed as a serious infraction.
What the public would not know, however, is that when it came to newspaper design and layout, Ridley remained unchallengeable until the very end. Headline size and type, the number of columns used, photo selection and display, juxtapositioning of items on a page — were not matters to trifle with under his watch.
If you knew Ridley, then you knew of his trusted box guitar, which he played so often to accompany himself at the microphone. Whether it was at a work-related social event or as “The Masque” in the Celebrities Calypso Tent, which he led for a number of years, when Ridley performed it was as though that performance was all that mattered. He was passionate.
To his daughter Adaiah, son Ridley Jr. and his grandchildren, as well as his journalism family, I extend sincere condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados. May the high standards he set, the quality he demanded and the example he displayed, never fade from the consciousness of those who now chose to be called journalists.
May his soul rest in peace.