John Marquis, left, stood down as managing editor of Nassau daily The Tribune in 2009 after a ten-year reign littered with controversy.
In 2007 his decision to publish two front-page pictures of a Bahamian cabinet minister on a bed with the late American starlet Anna Nicole Smith led to the minister’s resignation and his party’s defeat at the polls two months later.
Critics described the editor as ‘a hired journalistic assassin’ and demonstrators demanded his deportation.
However John, who edited the Famouth Packet for ten years before moving to the Caribbean, manage to resist the protests and has now been re-engaged by the Tribune as a columnist.
The paper’s move has been swiftly denounced by supporters of the former government, claiming it is part of a ‘political plot’ ahead of elections next year.
Bradley Roberts, chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, has issued a statement deploring the decision, alleging that John was behind a conspiracy by The Tribune to bring down the government of PLP leader Perry Christie in 2007.
And a rival publication, the Bahamas Press, has joined the PLP in condemning the new ‘Marquis at Large’ column, describing John as a ‘bigot’ who was returning to The Tribune’s pages in order to to “defecate on the Bahamian people.”
The Tribune’s publisher, Eileen Dupuch Carron, has dismissed claims that the move is linked to next year’s general election, saing it was always John’s intention to begin writing again in retirement.
She said: “This week we learned how the very mention of the Marquis name could send tremors down so many political spines.”
John told HTFP: “It was always my intention to keep my hand in by writing a column. After 50 years in journalism, it’s nice now to be able to produce stuff at my own pace between writing my books.
“My column will not be exclusively about politics. I intend to pursue Bahamas angles on all kinds of topics.”
The 67-year-old, who now lives back in Cornwall, is also publishing a book about his years at The Tribune entitled Long Hot Summer.