Closure of regional news agency a sad blow
Stabroek News
January 9, 2002

Dear Editor,

To paraphrase Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Bar-buda's High Commissioner to the U.K., it is indeed a very sad blow to our region at a time when we need it the most, to learn of the closure of Caribbean Media Corpora-tion (CMC), formerly Carib-bean News Agency (CANA), because of long- standing financial problems.

It has placed a damper on my day, as I reminisce on the superb services and programmes offered by our own regional news-gathering body, over the past two decades.

Yes it was ours, and we should all across our region be proud of this communications product, that was indigenous to us, and produced by us, for us. As I attempt to search for answers to obvious questions, such as why do we often as a region fail ourselves? Why is it as a region, we stand by and watch those at the helms fail us, and simply accept it? Were we not proud to have had our own communication service, providing a voice on behalf of and to the peoples of this region and beyond?

Yet, we have failed ourselves again. Failed the staff who have dedicated their talents, energies and services, in the end to nothing. No salaries, no job, no pensions. Not even as much as a mere thank you.

It will now be with humiliating shame and a lost sense of pride, that I attempt to listen once again, to news about my region via the B.B.C, Reuters, Associated Press, C.N.N, C.B.S, etc.

No more admiration, excitement and pleasure listening to cricket matches throughout the region via CANA/CMC, broadcasting the varying reporting styles, through accents and language(for what may mean one thing in one island, may mean something totally different in another), and having much fun deciphering the accents and the names of the commentators.

So, just exactly where did we go wrong?

It is difficult for me as a citizen of the Caribbean to grasp the full depth of the implications of this shocking closure.

And what of the education, through information, of the Caricom Single Market and Economy(CSME) and its elements, amongst other things?

Are we just willing to allow this to be another sigh on our lips and mumbles in our various circles, on such a major failure of our identity?

Can't we run a simple news agency in the 21st century, when tourists in other parts of the world are

shuttling off and moonwalking into space?

Yours faithfully,

Charlene Benjamin