The region’s premier media association has renewed its commitment to advancing the media sector through a structured engagement with the CARICOM Secretariat.
The emphasis on this aspect of its mandate was highlighted during the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s 53rd Annual General Assembly in Tobago. At that meeting, which took place from August 15 to 17 2022, with support from the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, for the first time the CBU had a planned engagement with a sitting CARICOM Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett.
In an address to the Conference Day on August 16, Dr Barnett recognized the changing context of media businesses, even as critical technological developments affected the span and impact of the sector on Caribbean societies.
She in turn confirmed that her participation in the Assembly was just the first of an ongoing series of planned engagements with CBU member media executives to discuss significant issues in Caribbean media, including policy as well as support for development processes. Dr Barnett was the feature speaker on the UNESCO-sponsored day, under the theme Media and Information Literacy, which also featured messages from the Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Tawfik Jelassi and the CEO of the Public Media Alliance, Mr. Kristian Porter.
The Assembly began with a ceremony showcasing the best of Tobago’s culture, which was addressed by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Keith Rowley, and Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Hon Farley Augustine.
On the opening night, the Caribbean Broadcasting Hall of Fame was increased by two as stalwarts of the industry, Mr. Fritz Pengel of Suriname and Mr. Gary Allen of Jamaica were inducted. Mr. Pengel’s presentation had been made a few days earlier at his home in Suriname.
And the CBU President’s Award was renewed with the presentation to former head of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, now Public Media Alliance, Ms. Sally-Ann Wilson, for her service to CBU members, including mobilizing replacement transmitters for Anguilla, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Excellence in Caribbean broadcast, print and digital media during the year 2021 was celebrated during the Caribbean Media Awards, sponsored by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT). The glittering event at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex was the first time the Awards had been presented in person since 2019.
During the Members’ Plenary session, the membership participated in a hybrid meeting which allowed physical and online participation including voting for the slate of officers to lead the organization over the next year.
Elected to her first full term as President was Dr. Claire Grant of RJRGLEANER Group Jamaica, while the re-elected Vice President was Mr. Richard Purcell of Caribbean Communications Network based in Trinidad and Tobago.
Also re-elected to the Board of Directors were:
- Mrs. Emiliana Bernard Stephenson of Canal Teleislas from San Andres Island, Colombia
- Mr. Keith Campbell of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica
First timers on the Board are:
- Ms. Marleni Cuellar of Great Belize Productions Limited
- Mrs. Erna-Mae Brathwaite, of ABS in Antigua and Barbuda, and
- Mr. David Roberts head of TTT Limited of Trinidad and Tobago
Continuing into the second year of their current terms were:
- Ms. Dionne John of NBC, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and
- Mr. Anthony Greene of Starcom Network in Barbados
The CBU membership who participated in the meeting in Tobago and virtually, were excited to learn that the 54th AGA will take place in Antigua and Barbuda with the event already scheduled for August 14 to 16, 2023.