I first joined the Express in 1996 as a junior sub-editor. Having gained some experience in a media environment from my previous job at the Guardian, settling into my new home at the Express was a pleasant and seamless process.
The staff was welcoming and accommodating and made me feel at home immediately. The culture at the Express has always teamwork, which helped us face up to the many challenges we faced through the years.
I have been lucky and blessed to work with visionaries and giants in the world of journalism like Ken Gordon, Craig Reynald, Raoul Pantin, Keith Smith and Sunity Maharaj, all of whom, in their respective capacities, graced the hallways and newsroom of the Express at various times, making a lasting and positive impression not just on me but on the newspaper as a whole. These stalwarts laid the foundation that has made the Express what it is today. I am honoured to have worked with them, gaining priceless knowledge and experience in the process.
Being part of this dynamic company for so many years and witnessing the news as it unfolds, putting the elements (stories and pictures) of the newspaper together with a talented group of people and seeing the final product on the newsstands the following day, is truly a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Working at the Express is like working from home.
I remember that fateful day – Tuesday, September 11, 2001 – when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York. We were horrified like everybody else but we decided to print a special edition covering the tragedy for our readers, hoping to have it on the streets by 4 p.m that day. On the way we had to deal with our own bomb scare drama at Express House. In the end we made it at 4.30 p.m.—not bad, considering the challenges. Mind you, we still had the main paper to tackle right after this early edition was out!
A decade later – on Sunday, May 1, 2011 – my Editor-in-Chief Omatie Lyder called me at home at around 10 p.m. to say that the US had captured and killed Osama bin Laden, the reputed mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and she needed me to come to the office to lay out a second edition of the Express with the news. This was done and so the next morning Express readers were able to read how the terrorist leader was killed by US troops in Pakistan.
I am proud and delighted to have been part of the Express team that shaped and packaged the reports of the many events that changed our world and the world beyond: the bacchanal that is local politics; the technological innovations that gave us BlackBerry and Facebook; the natural disasters; the tumultuous eruptions of people power in nations that had not known democracy before. I was there at the Express to help capture it all and put it together for our readers. I was there with my colleagues burning the midnight oil, often going beyond the call of duty to ensure that the Express maintained the competitive edge and remained the number one newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago.
Being part of the dynamic team that makes the Express world class is certainly a payoff for working here. So, as we mark “45 years of fearless journalism that will never be compromised”, I take this opportunity to wish the company and all its workers a very happy birthday.