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    October 23

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Tell CARICOM's successes

NATASHA BECKLES, natashabeckles@nationnews.com

Added 16 January 2014

baldwinspencer

ST. JOHN’S – Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer Thursday defended the regional integration movement and appealed to regional broadcasters to play a meaningful role in educating the Caribbean population about the achievements of the 40 year-old institution. Addressing the start of a two-day workshop for regional broadcasters on the regional integration and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME), Spencer acknowledged that over the last few years, CARICOM and specifically the CSM component has been going through a period of consolidation. He reminded delegates that last year, the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered a ruling on the landmark case involving the Jamaican national, Shanique Myrie, who claimed she had been discriminated against by Barbados when she sought to enter the island a few years ago. “To Heads of Government and member states, the judgement means that it cannot be business as usual,” Spencer said, workshops such as these offer media practitioners the opportunity to tell the region’s story more accurately and in a manner that the average Caribbean person can appreciate. “That is why I am of the opinion that broadcasters are indeed and should be the champions of the regional integration message,” Spencer said, noting that the benefits of the CARICOM from its inception “have suffered from a lack of media buss. “The paparazzi syndrome never caught on to CARICOM and the integration movement. Very often we hear in the media, negative commentary and discourse about the lack of implementation or the “talk shop” stigma regularly attached to regional bodies. “We hear very little about how a private sector business operating in the CSME has been able to benefit from the regimes, or how an artisan has been able to move through the region as a skilled national, or even how successful regional bodies like CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) or CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute) have been in implementing their mandate and impacting the people of the region”. Prime Minister Spencer told the regional broadcasters that when “we look back at the gains and successes of CARICOM, I will emphatically state that they far outweigh the setbacks and challenges. “Just like any integration movement, even the European Union, CARICOM is still navigating its way through the challenges of pooling the resources of multiple states together that come with their own unique cultures and practices.” Prime Minister Spencer, who holds responsibility for services within the quasi CARICOM Cabinet, said that “this in itself is an ongoing process and is one that requires continued commitment in order to fully reap the benefits of an integration movement”. He said he was encouraging the broadcasters “not to be afraid to tell the region’s story. “Let us be proud to provide the people of the region with information on the benefits, challenges, success stories and continuous efforts to deepen integration,” he said, underscoring the need for ethics and accuracy “in this process of telling the region’s story”. The two-day workshop is being organised by the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat with funding from the 10th European Development Fun (EDF). At least 30 regional broadcasters are attending the workshop that would also discuss the free movement of skills and persons across the region, one of the main pillars of the CSME, as well as the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council, as the region’s final court. Presentations at the workshop are being made by representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat; The University of the West Indies (UWI); The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU); The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) as well as the private and public sector here. “There will also be presentations for the development of broadcast skills in delivering and disseminating information on trade and regional integration,” the Secretariat said in a statement. (CMC)

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