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Searchlight family hosts cocktail for its matriarch

Searchlight family hosts cocktail for its matriarch

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She is a woman of great poise, resilience, intelligence, perseverance, determination and firmness. And with all that said, there still aren’t enough flattering words in the English dictionary to describe Norma Keizer, her contribution to nation building, and especially to the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper.{{more}}

To show how much she is loved and appreciated, the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Interactive Media hosted a cocktail event on Monday, May 19, at the Fair View Guest House in her honour. The ambience couldn’t be any better, with a brightly lit moon in the night sky, soft smooth jazz music from the Lio Smith Jazz Quintet and the camaraderie of close friends and family.

During the evening, glowing and sometimes emotional tributes to Keizer were paid by Searchlight co-founder and columnist Bassy Alexander, co-founder Oscar Allen (read by his brother Errol Allen), the newspaper’s Chief Sub-Editor Jude Knight, shareholder Anthony Mejias, senior reporter Hawkins Nanton, Queen’s Counsel Andrew Cummings, shareholder Frank DaSilva, Group Financial Controller at the Nation Corporation of Barbados Noel Wood, and Pressman at the Nation Walter Roberts. They all emphasized Keizer’s good character, determination to succeed, her motherly concern for her staff, and her strength.

Also paying tribute to Keizer was former Editor-in-chief of the Nation Publishing Company in Barbados, Harold Hoyte. Hoyte said that when Keizer first approached him about SEARCHLIGHT, he knew the venture would be a success. Hoyte stated emphatically that Keizer is a woman of impeccable character for whom he is willing to put his head on the block. He said that she kept every commitment she made to the Nation, and was able to realize all of her dreams for the newspaper. He described her as not only a teacher of academics, but also a life teacher.

First Chairman of Interactive Media Ltd and co-founder Dr. Adrian Fraser gave the citation on Keizer, after which she was presented with a portrait of herself, made using collage. The exquisite piece, the creation of artist Conroy Dyer, was made from small pieces of Searchlight newspaper, which were glued together on a backing to form Keizer’s image.

Accepting the portrait, Keizer jokingly said she was totally surprised and thanked everyone for doing something that she didn’t want. The founding editor said that when she was approached by Sebastian “Bassy” Alexander to serve as editor of the newspaper, she had no problem in taking up the challenge since the job enabled her to continue to help to educate the people of the country.

Keizer told the intimate gathering that she was pleased with the strides that the company had made during its 13 years of existence. She said that even though the task of maintaining the paper sometimes seemed daunting, she never gave up.

Searchlight newspaper was founded in 1995 by Sebastian “Bassy” Alexander, Oscar Allen, Renwick Rose and Dr Adrian Fraser. Alexander said that they approached Keizer to fill the role as Editor as they were looking for a person of great respect in the community, with good language and management skills, and someone who would not want a high salary. He said that Keizer worked for the first three years without pay and went over a decade without vacation. “She is the lady with the Midas touch, since everything she touched at SEARCHLIGHT turned to gold,” said Alexander.

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