24 October 2014

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Editor who brought down government to retire

A former regional press man who was later credited with bringing down the government of the Bahamas is retiring after 48 years in journalism.

John Marquis, left, began his career on the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and spent 13 years as an editor and publisher for the Packet group of newspapers in Cornwall.

He was also assistant editor of the now-defunct Evening Post-Echo in Hemel Hempstead owned by Thomson Regional Newspapers in the 1970s.

But he quit UK regional journalism in 1999 for the job of managing editor of the Bahamas’ leading daily, The Tribune – eventually becoming one of the islands’ most controversial figures.

In 2007, John was credited with bringing down the islands’ government after publishing pictures of the immigration minister embracing model Anna Nicole Smth on her bed at her Nassau mansion.

The minister in question, Shane Gibson, was forced to resign, triggering the government’s defeat at the polls three months later.

It led to placard protests being staged outside The Tribune’s office calling for the editor to be deported. He was branded “a journalistic terrorist” and “The Tribune Slimeball”.

But John, who regarded the administration as corrupt, described it as the proudest moment of his career.

He told HoldtheFrontPage: “That story was one of the most satisfactory of my career. The PLP government was bad for the Bahamas and I found myself in the middle of a year-long face-off with five of its senior members.

“Shane Gibson was right at the heart of the movement to get rid of me. Then along came that beautiful Anna Nicole story, every editor’s dream. One vendor was selling copies of The Tribune at Nassau airport for 20 dollars a time because the paper had sold out everywhere else.”

John, 65, is also a published author. His first book, Blood and Fire, appeared to critical acclaim in 2005. His second, Papa Doc – about Haitian tyrant Francois Duvalier – came out in 2007.

Now the father-of-eight plans to travel the world with his wife Joan for a year before settling in the Mediterranean.

“Everything I do from now on will be a hobby. It’s going to be fun finding out what life is like outside a newspaper office,” he said.

“I want to spend the rest of my life travelling, writing books and making pots – I’ve always fancied myself as a studio potter.”

Comments

richard meredith (16/10/2008 09:52:59)
what John doesn’t mention is another story about a certain lady who delighted in ski-ing nude down mountains with a daffodil up her nose … and no doubt countless other scoops and exposes. JM was one of the best journalists I ever worked with. Retiring? I don’t believe it!



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