NASSAU, Bahamas -- "A robust regional media organization is vital to the development of the Caribbean region," a leading Caribbean economist has declared.
Zhivargo Laing, congratulating the new executive of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), added, "It is the fourth estate that strengthens democracy by informing and educating the public about local, regional and international developments."
Laing, the former Bahamas minister of finance, congratulated the St Kitts-based broadcaster Clive Bacchus for his election as president of the ACM following its annual general meeting in Trinidad over the weekend.
Bacchus, a respected veteran journalist and general manager of WINN FM, was elected at the seventh biennial general assembly of the organization.
The ACM, through the leadership of its outgoing president Wesley Gibbings (who will now serve as general secretary under the new executive), has played a leadership role, along with other media organizations, in protecting freedom of expression and information, Laing said.
"Unfortunately, many of us take these freedoms for granted and some of us in leadership trample on them. But there is no question we need an enlightened and informed media to hold stakeholders in the public, private and non-government sectors accountable," he stated.
The media were partners in development and greater engagement with editors and reporters was important "to open unfettered lines of communication on all issues affecting the Caribbean," he contended.
The economist and entrepreneur also congratulated first vice president Peter Richards of St Lucia, second vice president Dr. Canute James of Jamaica, and assistant general secretary Martina Johnson of Antigua and Barbuda on their election.
The new floor members include Onel Sanford-Belle of St Lucia and Jabari Fraser of Trinidad and Tobago.