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.ent
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”.