The Rev Wayne Sam of Tunapuna Methodist Church has praised veteran journalist Errol St Clair Pilgrim for answering the call to journalism with passion, truth, and a keen eye for justice.
Speaking during Pilgrim’s funeral on Monday, Sam described journalists as integral parts of society, tasked with discern and comment on their surroundings.
“To me, being a journalist is a vocation; a calling and it is to be taken seriously because words have life.
“I expect that (Pilgrim) fulfilled those requirements: a passion for truth, a keen eye for justice and a willingness to guard their integrity with their life.”
Pilgrim died on Wednesday at the Eric Williams Medical Complex in Mount Hope at 78 after surgery.
He is survived by his wife Christiana Carol Pilgrim, his children Kwame, Kofi, and Anika Pilgrim-Gaspard and seven grandchildren.
His son Kofi Pilgrim described him as a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
“There are no words to express his influence in my life,” he said. “It is through his example I have learned to be the father I am today.”
Pilgrim said his father enjoyed holidays, especially Christmas, and remembered him fondly as a great cook.
“My mom was the cook in the family and as a child I thought there was no one that can cook better than my mother.
“Well, that was changed when my dad retired. He started with Chinese style (food) and that was the best Chinese style that I ever had. He branched out to other dishes and my mom took a back seat and my dad became the cook in the family.”
He said for the past 15 years, all the families would gather at his parents' home for Sunday dinner.
“With the amount of food he cooked, we would always have seconds and food to go home with. I will truly miss not having him around.”
Pilgrim’s brother Henry said his brother was a brilliant man.
“He was an eloquent writer. I told him once that when he wrote an article, both Myrna (their sister) and I would run to our dictionaries because we knew we would come across some word we never saw before. We remember Errol as an avid reader who would engage everyone who would listen in political discussion.”
Journalist Joan Rampersad described her time with him at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT).
“His newsroom colleagues would often talk about the lengths to which (Pilgrim) would go to make sure the end product was the best it could be.”
She recalled Pilgrim’s coverage of elections in Guyana, where he was forced to run for cover after shots were fired.
“All I can say is he lived long enough to tell us and relay it as though it was out of a Western movie,” she joked. “His wit was unbelievable.”
The Media Association of TT (MATT) in a press release on Wednesday described Pilgrim as a stalwart in the media fraternity who will be remembered for his guidance in his role as head of news at TTT.
It said his career began at the Trinidad Guardian and Trinidad Express newspapers before he transitioned into broadcasting.