Étienne Dupuch

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Étienne Dupuch
Born February 16, 1899
Died August 23, 1991
Nassau, Bahamas
Cause of death Caught fire.

Sir Étienne Dupuch, OBE (February 16, 1899 - August 23, 1991) was the editor of the Nassau Tribune from 1919 and served in the Bahamian House of Assembly for 24 years.

Dupuch was named as 'longest serving newspaper editor' by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Death[edit]

Dupuch died aged 92 at Camperdown, Nassau, Bahamas, after catching fire in his garden while trying to destroy an ants nest.

Political life[edit]

A veteran of the First World War, Dupuch introduced into the Bahamian House of Assembly the first comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in the colony's history, which outlawed the practice of racial discrimination in hotels, restaurants and other public places at a time when the country's tourist industry was experiencing dramatic growth. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), and was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He also received a papal knighthood from Pope Pius XII (Order of St Gregory the Great). During his time in office he was opposed to the Progressive Liberal Party believing that Bahamians should achieve a middle way in resolving the political differences that existed at the time between blacks and whites.

Newspaper Career[edit]

Dupuch began his newspaper career as a boy by delivering The Tribune on roller-skates through Nassau's 'over the hill' ghetto areas. He took over the editorship after serving as a soldier in the British Army during the First World War.

Dupuch kept faith with the slogan 'Being Bound to Swear to the Dogmas of No Master', used by his father Leon Dupuch when he launched The Tribune as a four-page newspaper in 1903. The slogan was originally used in The Bahamas by John Wells, a loyalist who started the first Bahamian newspaper, The Gazette.[1] His descendent Lisa Wells founded the first news website in The Bahamas, BahamasB2B.com, in 2000. For years, Dupuch was at odds with Nassau's ruling white élite, the Bay Street Boys, and was hostile to HRH The Duke of Windsor during his five-year 'reign' as Governor of the Bahamas during the Second World War. Dupuch was known for his strong editorials on his political positions.

Dupuch's powerful editorials were required reading among 'thinking Bahamians' for many decades. Most prominent Bahamian journalists learned their craft under his tutelage, including His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, the former Governor-General of the Bahamas.

In the late 1960s, when he retired from the Senate, Dupuch was described by a fellow Senator, Dr. Doris Johnson, as 'a pesky pimple on the body politic of the Bahamas' – a quote he insisted on using in The Tribune's headline the following day.

In 1972, aged 73, Dupuch handed control of The Tribune to his daughter Eileen, a qualified barrister and graduate of Columbia University's famous journalism school, who remains publisher to the present day. She is also head of a media empire which now includes radio stations.

Among Dupuch's protégés, apart from Sir Arthur Foulkes, were Oswald Brown, who went on to become Managing Editor of both The Nassau Guardian and The Freeport News, and John Marquis, the award-winning British journalist who worked as a political reporter on both The Nassau Guardian and The Tribune in the 1960s, and returned to the Bahamas in 1999 as The Tribune's Managing Editor.

During Marquis's ten years as Managing Editor, The Tribune enjoyed a dramatic surge in circulation. It also became embroiled in a string of controversies. Its exposure of a scandal involving the American cover girl Anna Nicole Smith was blamed for the fall of the Progressive Liberal Party government in 2007.

Like Dupuch before him, Marquis was targeted by mass street protests outside The Tribune's offices.

Dupuch published two books, including The Tribune Story, about his struggle to keep his paper afloat in the face of enormous odds while raising a young family.

The editor-publisher was listed among the three greatest Bahamians of the 20th century in a millennium poll in the year 2000.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genealogica And Heraldica, By Auguste Vachon, Claire Boudreau, Daniel Cogne

Further reading[edit]

  • Dupuch, Etienne. The Tribune Story. Benn, 1967.