BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Association of Caribbean Media Workers Saturday elected its first female president, veteran Antiguan journalist and broadcaster Anika Kentish.
Also elected unopposed were First Vice-President, Nazima Raghubir, the president of the Guyana Press Association (GPA) and General Secretary Jewel Forde (Barbados).
Kern Mason, the president of the Media Workers of Grenada, was elected Second Vice President and Jean-Phares Jerome of Haiti is the Assistant General Secretary.
Outgoing President Wesley Gibbings, of Trinidad and Tobago, and incumbent Second Vice President, Denis Chabrol of Guyana were elected as executive floor members.
On her accession to leadership of the regional umbrella media body, Kentish paid tribute to Gibbings, saying she was “honoured and humbled to walk in his footsteps”.
“Despite his short stature, he is a giant in media,” she said, describing him as a “consummate professional and champion of the free press”.
Among priorities she identified for the executive’s attention are the reestablishment and redevelopment of several media organisations across the region, in addition to a continued need for training of journalists and the promotion of ethical standards.
“We don’t want to stay stagnant. We want to stay relevant and increase our membership,” Kentish added.
Kentish said she was troubled by downsizing of the media industry in the Eastern Caribbean, with recent developments in her native Antigua, which has from “one to zero daily newspapers”. The Daily Observer Friday announced it was publishing three days a week and running three digital only editions.
She made an appeal for the rival media associations in Dominica to end their public feud and find common ground towards building a “strong, formidable, representative body” and make a united effort to promote media development in Dominica.
The new president pledged the association’s support in assisting in the creation or rebirth of functioning press associations in her native Antigua and Barbuda, along with St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The election process was presided over by Amanda Laurence of UNIC, assisted by Erika Walker of UNESCO.
National Associations from Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago are eligible to vote, together with national focal points from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti, St Kitts ans Nevis and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
National Associations: Barbados Association of Journalists, Curacao Media Organisation, Media Workers Association of Grenada, Guyana Press Association, Press Association of Jamaica, National Press Club of Martinique, Media Association of Saint Lucia, Union of Surinamese Journalists and Media Association of Trinidad & Tobago.
National Focal Points: Antigua and Barbuda — Kwesi Isles; Dominica — Carlisle Jno Baptiste; St Kitts and Nevis — Lakesha Hewlett; St. Vincent and the Grenadines — Kenton Chance and Haiti — Jean-Phares Jerome.
The Dominica Media and Communications Association (DMCA) were non-voting observers along with several individual members.