Veteran journalist Keith Smith died yesterday morning at 3 am at his home on Old St Joseph Road, Laventille.He had been ailing for some time. He was 65.Smith, who was unmarried and had no children, leaves to mourn two brothers, a sister and his mother.Despite his long illness, the relative said they were shocked at his death."He was a good man. He helped a lot of youths in Laventille. He took a lot of them off the streets."Smith, a foundation member of the Laventille Rhythm Section, was the recipient of the Humming Bird (Silver) Medal award.
His funeral will be held on Saturday at 10 am at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.The family member said they were still working out the details of where he would be buried.Shortly after receiving the Humming Bird medal in 2009 for his contribution to journalism, Smith said journalists should know more about the country's political, social, economic and cultural history.
Smith had been an employee of the Express newspaper from its establishment in 1967.Giving a list of requirements for being a successful journalist, he said "you need to have a passion for justice, a hunger to see everybody gets as fair a deal as possible and you have to be on the side of people who do not have a voice."Columnist Judy Raymond, describing Smith's writing, said: "At their best, Keith's columns were like the most brilliant extempo calypsoes.
"They were dashed off with great speed but they had their own poetry and they contained nuggets of great wisdom," she said."Nobody could hope to imitate them but they were an influence and inspiration for other writers, nevertheless, because of their depth and sharpness and the easy way they showed Keith's huge understanding of the time and place he lived in."mColumnist BC Pires, writing about Smith in October 2010, described him this way: "If Keith wasn't in a hospital bed, he was at his desk, chewing his way to inspiration via his knuckles, the whole newsroom, watching, understood his concentration was deepest when his fist disappeared into his mouth.
A release from the Express yesterday said: "Over his decades at the Express, Mr Smith worked as a reporter, a feature writer, editor, editor-at-large and, with greatest distinction, as a columnist."It is in that last capacity that the Keith Smith name became a household word, identified with flair, insight, and popular appeal."