In an address, that received a standing ovation from regional representatives, Prime Minister David Thompson spoke of the continuing importance of the news media as an integral part of finding innovative ways of achieving national objectives.

He was at the time delivering the feature address at the official opening of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s (CBU) Annual General Assembly last evening in Havana, Cuba.

The broadcast media, the Prime Minister noted, in no small way contributed to the development of the region and would define the level of success of its ambitious strategic projects such as the Caricom Single Market and Economy.

Referring to the various challenges the region had collectively faced and its burdens of history, Mr. Thompson, in expressing appreciation to the government and people of Cuba, stated that it was no coincidence that at a critical juncture in the history of the Caribbean, the media community had convened in Cuba, “so renowned for its significant contribution to strengthening regional unity, cooperation and self-determination”.

The Barbados Prime Minister then recounted the historical development of the CBU and referred to its many successful productions. “I have always argued that the success of the regional integration movement depends critically on effective communication, primarily the dissemination of vital information and the transport of people, goods and services across the expanse of the Caribbean Sea.

“I would further argue,” the Prime Minister continued, “that the exchange of relevant information is a pre-condition for the sustainable development of the region, which is the fundamental goal of all regional movements from the very beginning and more recently of the Federation of the West Indies and the CSME”.

He then addressed the importance of preserving national and regional cultures. He reminded the gathering that we in this region had survived one of the most devastating experiences in human history, whereby millions of people were transported from their homelands in inhumane conditions and subjected to a systematic process designed to strip them of all their human rights and reduce them to chattels.

Re-affirming his government’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for the media to flourish in its role in national and regional development, including revisiting relevant legal and regulatory arrangements, the Prime Minister challenged members of the CBU to be in the vanguard of development by informing the people through the prevailing challenges.

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