Prime Minister : A truly remarkable woman
The Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, has sent condolences to the family and colleagues of Newsday’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Therese Mills, who died earlier today.
The Prime Minister stated, “It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of a real stalwart in the field of journalism. She was a woman of substance, a woman of power, who earned the respect of everyone, in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, and the world.”
Mrs Persad-Bissessar added, “Mrs Mills changed the way journalists functioned, and I am sure all those journalists who passed through her hands over the past 68 years, can attest to this today.”
The Prime Minister said journalism, and Trinidad and Tobago as a whole, have lost a truly remarkable woman.
“Mrs Mills was a guiding light to many young persons who wanted a career in journalism. She demonstrated that there was room for a third daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago, although there were influential persons who said otherwise. She was responsible in the shortest possible time in getting Newsday to number one position in the MFO Media Survey.”
Mrs Mills was also an award winning journalist, including a commentary entitled “These were no ordinary men” – a saga on the corrupt politics of John O’Halloran, Francis Prevatt and others. The commentary also won the 1989 BWIA Excellence in Journalism Award for most outstanding social and political commentary.
She was also awarded for three successive years, the Excellence in Journalism award for the most outstanding newspaper editorial in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
Mrs Mills, a mother of three, grandmother and great grandmother, began a career in journalism in 1945. Her first job was at the Port-of-Spain Gazette, a newspaper made famous by one of the outstanding editors in Trinidad’s history, Andre Paul Terence Ambard, who fought a contempt of court case all the way to the Privy Council in 1934, settling once and for all the doctrine of Freedom of the Press.
After living in England for eight years, Mrs Mills returned to work at the Trinidad Guardian where she became Editor-in-Chief in 1989, the first woman to head a national newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. In the course of her long career, Mrs Mills covered many major international conferences for the Guardian.
She retired in June 1993 and was immediately asked to be the first editor-in-chief of a new daily newspaper, Newsday, a position she held up to today.
Mrs Mills was a foundation member of the Commonwealth Journalists Association in Cyprus and served as a CJA executive representative for the Caribbean. She was also a foundation member of the Journalists Association of Trinidad and Tobago; and served as vice chairman of the National Commission on the Status of Women appointed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 1975 during the UN International Women’s Year. She also conducted a number of courses for journalists, including one in Guyana in July 1993.
Mrs Mills was awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal in 2012 for her service to journalism. In 1987 she also received the Humming Bird Medal, her contribution to journalism.
January 1, 2014