To Carl, with love!

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Macbeth referred to life as “But a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of much sound and fury, signifying nothing.” James, he of the New Testament, says, “Life is a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” The Psalmist gloomily declares, “As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. But the wind passeth over it, and it is gone.” Sigh!

With the untimely passing of our dearly-beloved Carl Adrian Joseph, we too are left pondering those self-same vagaries and brevity of life, and we could easily give way to pessimism and a melancholy humour. After all, we had just been with Carl less than a few hours previously. But Carl would not have it so, never mind that in much of his 41 years, he had seen some of the whimsies of life. For example, even though he’d lost his dad, for whom he was named, while he was still quite young, he did not let that, and circumstances, keep him down. Rather than wallowing in self-pity and despair, Carl pursued life with gusto. Indeed, those of us who were fortunate to have met him, or worked with him, were always inspired and impressed by his determination, his zest, his gentlemanly manner of being, his keen intellect, and his wonderful sense of humour. When Carl laughed, the whole world laughed with him; his handsome, megawatt smile always lit up a room, and his eyes and body twinkled and danced. This was as sure a sign as any that he was amused. As were we.

Carl was a man of many parts, and those parts all came together to make for a fascinating whole. He relished basketball, volleyball and swimming, and spent many hours indulging those passions. He was also an unapologetic foodie, always enjoying a good meal. As you can imagine, he was quite a gourmet chef. Actually, if truth be told, he confessed on a recent VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast that he enjoyed watching the cooking shows on television even more than sports or other programming.

Then there were his critically-acclaimed other favourite pursuits, those of his roles as a talk-show host and journalist. He was our insatiable news and information hound. Carl would follow a story wherever it led, and was a leader in our NEWSCO newsroom. If ever there was a need for a volunteer to track-down a tip, Carl was the first to quietly say, “I’ll go; I’ll do it.” And he would return to the office, quite late at times, and write the story. His great stories are a testament to his dogged pursuit of the truth and information. Actually, there were times when he would insist on making the extra phone call to get the story just right, or to get more details, and we (the editing team) would sometimes get impatient. Needless to say, it was always worth the extra effort and the longer wait.

Ironically, on the very last day that we saw Carl alive (this past Friday), he worked like a man on a mission. All his stories were punctual and perfectly written, and this writer is honoured to have edited his last story entitled, STATE OF EMERGENCY AND CURFEW IN PLACE. Even before the question-and-answer segment of the Prime Minister’s press conference announcing the curfew, Carl had finished that story. He then came to our office and said in a soft voice, that his work was done and that he was going home. He then told us, Gemma Handy (managing editor) and I (sub-editor), to take care. In hindsight, we wonder . . . . . . . . . was he telling us something? Indeed, after he left, we both commented on the sense of urgency with which he’d worked that day. It was almost as if he was living the Mario de Andrade experience in the poem, MY SOUL HAS A HAT: “. . . Yes, I’m in a hurry. I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give. I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts. I am sure they will be exquisite, much more than those eaten so far. My goal is to reach the end satisfied and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience. We have two lives, and the second begins when you realise that we only have one.” Sigh! Carl, we miss ye!

Clearly, it will be difficult to replace his clear and in-depth writing, as well as the sound of his compelling baritone during his hosting stints with our VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, OBSERVER AM, CONNECTING WITH DAVE LESTER PAYNE, the GOOD MORNING JO-JO SPORTS SHOW and MOVEMENT RADIO. He was an enormous credit to the profession.

It was a recognition of his sterling attributes as a person and a journalist that prompted the NEWSCO management team to hire him this past September. It was a sound decision that immediately brought value to our brand. Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts, our Managing Director, and one who is not easily impressed, said, “I was truly impressed by Carl’s persistence in chasing the story, and the many long hours that he worked in his pursuit of excellence. He had a warm and friendly disposition; a good old boy, if you want to call it that, who was blessed with an easy and boisterous laugh. He was the sort of guy that you could sit and share a drink with. I will miss him, and on behalf of NEWSCO, I wish to extend our sincerest condolences to his grief-stricken family.”

Our Station Manager, Dave Lester Payne, he who is never at a loss for words, was so overcome with shock and grief that words failed him, and in between sad shakes of his head, he managed to declare, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! Such a good, hardworking guy. He’s gone too soon! He has a daughter; we have to pray for his family.” Our Human Resources and Office Manager, Stacy Samuel was equally bereft, and in between sobs, she spoke of her disbelief and sorrow.

Gemma Handy shared, I had only worked with Carl for a couple of months, but he clearly possessed all of the qualities that make a great journalist. He was hard-working, never flinched from taking on the awkward or tricky pieces, and never hesitated to drop whatever he was doing to make sure we got the story. On top of all that, he had a keen social conscience, he reported without fear or favour, and was a solid and dependable presence in the newsroom.”

Franz de Freitas ofVOICE OF THE PEOPLE declared, “Kind, bold, opinionated, articulate, statics-driven, and visionary are just a few of the descriptors that defined my experience with Carl Joseph. I only knew him for a few years, but he has impacted me beyond those years. Let us practice daily one of the things Carl taught me ‘Talk freely and openly, even when we disagree on the issues.’ Gone way too soon!”

 Latrishka Thomas, of our newsroom, shared, “I just wanna say that Carl was the greatest addition to our team. He is one of the best of the best. He will be remembered for his humour, his warmth, his incredible writing, his video-editing skills and his cooking. The newsroom will not be the same without him.”

Machela Osagboro, also of the newsroom, offered, “I am still flabbergasted at the news. Though I’d known Carl for just a year, he was a positive force. He was a go-getter, and one thing that I will always remember about him is that he lived by the mantra that there is absolutely no challenge in life that cannot be surmounted. He urged me to think beyond my boundaries and find solutions to everything. I will miss him dearly; he was a really good person and a great friend. Rest in love, my brother, you are finally at peace.”

Orville Williams, one of our news broadcasters and a reporter, and Pearman Jeffrey,our web expert with whom Carl worked on the web page, both echoed similar sentiments.

Then there is Dr Cleon Athill, she ofMOVEMENT RADIO who wrote, “Carl was my friend. He was an out-of-the-box thinker. He was committed to making a positive mark on the landscape of national development, and he chose sports, the media, and The Movement as his platform for igniting change. He will be greatly missed. The Movement is saddened by his passing and expresses condolences to his family and to all who love him.” Sigh!

Carl’s sudden passing has left a gaping hole in our hearts that will be difficult to fill. In his short time here with us, he “Fought the fight and kept the faith!” “He fell with his face to the foe, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. He shall not grow old as we who are left grow old; age shall not weary him, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him!”  [FOR THE FALLEN, Laurence Binyon] RIP, Carl! We love ya! Whole ton!

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