Hal was a gem! His vast experience working with the V.I. legislature and his ability to report on all the goings-on was unparalleled and has never been topped by anyone since he left St Thomas. His canny take of island life and the role of the senators, his command of the English language and its translation for his Daily News bylines remain unsurpassed.
He rented a studio apartment from me for quite a while, was always invited to my dinner parties up in the "main house" and was always a welcome addition to such parties. More a listener than a talker, he was nonetheless most garrulous when in the company of people he trusted.
One of my memories of Hal, which tickled me no end, was when I picked up the Daily News as usual one day and was reading a report written by Hal on legislative dealings. He quoted a comment made by a senator which was completely asinine.
I laughed out loud and then accosted Hal the next evening and said, "You quoted Senator so and so and his comment was so asinine – don't they ever get mad at you?"
Hal's comment? "They really don't care what I write about them as long as their name is published."
Hal Hatfield was a real gem, not only as a reporter but as a thinking person who was able to sift the grain from the chaff. Sorely missed as a real commentator when he left the Virgin Islands, his basic legacy will continue on through those who knew him and appreciated his acerbic wit and wisdom.
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