Ex-regional editor sparks political row in Bahamas

A former West Country newspaper editor has become the centre of a political row in the Bahamas after publishing pictures of a Bahaman minister with the late American model Anna Nicole Smith in his newspaper.

John Marquis, managing editor of The Tribune, the country's biggest newspaper, has faced chanting protestors outside his office (pictured) and calls for him to "go home" after printing a picture of immigration minister Shane Gibson with Smith at her Nassau mansion on 12 February, just days before she died. An autopsy found that she died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

Gibson later resigned over allegations that he was helping Smith with her Bahaman visa application. He denied any wrong-doing and blames The Tribune for his downfall.

Marquis, 63, a former editor of The Packet in Falmouth, Cornwall, said this was the latest development in a "tense face-off" with the ruling Progressive Liberal Party over the country's forthcoming General Election.

In his eventful eight-year tenure at the Tribune, Marquis has faced continued criticism for his strong editorial line on the Bahaman government. Last year he won a long battle to stay in the country when his work permit was deferred after three leading government figures accused him of "biased journalism".

After months of uncertainty, it was renewed until 2008.

Marquis told Press Gazette: "The protests don't bother me. The Tribune's circulation has risen by more than 70 per cent in eight years, which says it all, really.

"We're in the business of telling the truth and the vast majority of Bahamian people like what we do. If the politicians liked us, I would count that as a minus, not a plus."

Marquis has written two books, including Amazon bestseller Blood And Fire: The Duke of Windsor And the Strange Murder of Sir Harry Oakes. He is set to bring out his third in July, titled Anna Nicole: The Bahamas Connection, about the Tribune's role in Gibson's resignation.

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