Staffers rally around Lew in emotional send-off.
Caribbean media icon, Lew Smith, was given a tearful send-off by workers at the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) as the network continues to receive widespread criticism over the circumstances triggering his departure.
Smith, a broadcast veteran whose career spans nearly four decades, was forced to leave GBN after management offered him a significantly less favourable deal, GBN sources reported.
Smith’s new offer is reported to have been reduced to a newsroom deal amounting to 30 EC dollars a day, Monday to Friday, including two appearances as host of Beyond the Headlines.
However, the workers who have been protesting the management style of Odette Campbell, rallied around Smith showering him with gifts and applauding him for his role in assisting their development.
Campbell was not invited to the send-off, believed to be an initiative of the newsroom staff in which Smith was given flowers, a t-shirt marked number one broadcaster and a cake fashioned after his favourite drink, Guinness.
“What a surprise. I am humbled especially when everyone knows I never like such. But I appreciate the gesture and thank everyone,” declared Smith, said to be crestfallen over the treatment meted out to him by management.
“You’ve boosted my morale which sank to low two Fridays ago. Consider me a media lover and will die that way”.
In Grenada, Smith is regarded as an institution, whose career dates back to the Grenada based Windward Island Broadcasting Service (WIBS), Radio Antilles, CANA Radio and BBC Caribbean News Service.
Smith, a recipient of the Leslie Pierre Long Service Award, has made himself available to his colleagues to provide guidance whenever needed.
He is the latest casualty at GBN, under Campbell, currently the subject of an investigation called for by protesting employees and agreed to by majority shareholders One Caribbean Media (OCM).
GBN workers, who felt their complaints against Campbell have been ignored for years, upgraded their call for her removal by signing a petition which was sent to OCM head office in Trinidad, containing a list of charges against her ranging from bullying to the use of abusive language.