VETERAN journalist Eldred “Ed” Bethel died yesterday at the age of 82.
Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis remembered Mr Bethel as “a giant in the field of journalism” and a distinguished diplomat.
“Mr Bethel was an exceptional journalist, a skilled broadcaster, and a respected diplomat who made significant contributions to our nation throughout his career,” Mr Davis said in a statement yesterday. “Mr Bethel’s contribution to journalism in The Bahamas cannot be overstated. He began his career at The Tribune under the tutelage of Sir Etienne Dupuch and Sir Arthur Foulkes, and went on to cover many of the major events in The Bahamas.”
Mr Bethel worked as coordinator of ZNS coverage of the 1973 Bahamas independence celebrations, along with Charles Carter and Carl Bethel.
He added that Mr Bethel represented the country on the international stage as consul general to New York, Bahamas high commissioner to the United Kingdom and ambassador to the European Union.
“Specifically, Mr Bethel’s service as consul general to New York was marked by his dedication to the well-being of Bahamians living in the United States, while his service as Bahamas high commissioner to the United Kingdom and ambassador to the European Union was marked by his commitment to advancing the interests of our nation in Europe,” Mr Davis said.
He said Mr Bethel was a devoted family man and a community pillar.
The Bahamas Press Club also expressed sadness over Mr Bethel’s death.
“His death certainly leaves a void in journalism — broadcast and print — in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” said club president Anthony Capron.
“He was a consummate professional, a gentleman and was instrumental in preserving the integrity and standard of the profession, characters which his peers and upcoming journalists strived to emulate,” Mr Capron said.
Mr Bethel received The Etienne Dupuch Lifetime Achievement Award — the highest honour presented by the Bahamas Press Club — at a media awards gala held on February 29, 2020.
After beginning his career at The Tribune in 1959, Mr Bethel joined ZNS in 1963 as a sports reporter where he spent many years. He also worked at JCN and other news agencies and previously served as executive director of Bahamas Information Services.
As coordinator of ZNS’ coverage of the 1973 Bahamas independence, Mr Bethel along with the late Sir Charles Carter and Carl Bethel were the broadcasters at Clifford Park on the historic night of July 9, 1973, who told the world that a new nation named The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was born.
Among his other career achievements, in 1975, Mr Bethel provided blow-by-blow coverage of the Elisha Obed vs Miguel de Oliveira championship bout from Paris, France.
Mr Bethel along with Charles Carter and the late Calsey Johnson inaugurated local television, ZNS, Channel 13 in July 1977.
Mr Bethel is also a founding member and president of the Bahamas Press Club during the late 1990s.
He remained active in the media until his retirement in 2012.
He leaves behind a wife, Dawne Adderley, four children and 10 grandchildren.