EUGENE Duffy was a self-confessed old school journalist.
He came from a Fleet Street background in the UK, and worked for many years at the Mirror newspaper.
Often, he would share anecdotes of his time there, including stories of his former editor, Piers Morgan, and fellow colleagues.
He was closely involved in some of the major stories in the UK – from ensuring exclusive stories by tucking sources away in rented cottages to facing off against legal claims from the richest in the land. And his behind-the-scenes stories were often filled with remarkable moments.
When Eugene came to The Tribune in July 2017, taking the role filled by former managing editor David Chappell, he could little have known of the magnitude of what faced him – with the country about to be plunged into two major disasters.
First came Hurricane Dorian, which devastated Grand Bahama and Abaco. For Eugene, there were anxious hours waiting to hear from The Tribune’s own staff members, with a reporter and photographer in Abaco as the storm hit, and staff members at our Grand Bahama office too.
Few will have seen the efforts he went to in order to make sure staff members were safe and to get them home – where they were able to tell the inside story of surviving inside the hurricane, and an eyewitness view of the aftermath.
After that came the COVID-19 pandemic – which was a challenge to people and businesses across the nation.
Eugene made sure The Tribune never stumbled through the tough times of COVID. As a company, we suffered our own personal losses to the disease. Each day, we picked up and carried on. Through lockdowns, we found a way to publish and spread the news. Things had to be done a different way at times. We had to adapt to offices being closed and staff working from home. Still, Eugene made sure the newspaper met its deadlines, and reached our readers. In those difficult seas, he was a firm hand at the wheel.
He would speak of his pride in the office of being the managing editor for more than five years, while away from the office he was a regular face at the Poop Deck, where talk would often run to the politics of the nation.
He was a dog lover, who brought his pets across from England no matter the cost, and would often talk about his family back in the UK, particularly when proud of their achievements.
Eugene was a news man through and through. He spoke of how when he first tried to get a job as a reporter, he was on his way to the interview when he saw a crime taking place. He whipped out his notebook, took down all the details and when he arrived at his interview – slightly late because of the events along the way – and was asked why he wasn’t there on time, he waved his notebook and said he had a story for them, sat down and wrote it and into the paper it went. The job was his.
In recent times, his ill health hampered him from playing the full part he wished at The Tribune, and his last major involvement, when he was already planning to return to the UK, was in organising and publishing The Tribune’s tribute supplement to Queen Elizabeth II on her death.
He arranged for staff to scour The Tribune archives for photographs of Royal visits across the years, spoke to The Tribune’s columnists who contributed articles at short notice, and oversaw the reporters and page editors to create a widely-praised work.
Afterwards, while speaking to one of The Tribune’s staff members, who complimented the publication, he stopped for a moment, nodded and said: “Not a bad way to go out.”
We offer our condolences to his family, and our prayers that he will rest in peace. Thank you, Eugene.