Listen

Veteran Antiguan journalist and broadcaster Anika Kentish has become the first female president of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) at its Biannual Assembly in Barbados on March 3, 2018.

"I am approaching this new assignment with a bit of apprehension," she said.

On her accession to leadership of the regional umbrella media body, Kentish paid tribute to immediate past president Wesley 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".

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.

"There is great concern as to the state of play in the media in Dominica, it is very important for there to be a united effort to promote the development of media in the country. The ACM has made is clear that it will support the organization that has properly established itself and has the membership to back it. I am calling on my Dominican brethren to find common ground on the national association...we have to look at what the media workers want and how to find a way to meet their needs. The public bickering, the back and forth, needs to end," she said.

She continued: "I encourage patience and sober discussions among the Dominican media fraternity. The choice is yours. You can choose to continue the back and forth and go nowhere or work towards a common ground where you can build a strong formidable representative body. You have the full support of the ACM executive that I now lead."

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.

The ACM she said has been a champion, not just for press freedom but "equality and equity and we support the ideal that we need women in our newsroom in our media houses across the region."

"There is a lot to get done and I am passionate about training. We have a high turnover of media workers across the region and I am concerned about that very much. Professional standards, ethics and all in the media need to be addressed," the new ACM President stated.

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.

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.

Also elected unopposed were First Vice-President (Finance) 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 (Trinidad & Tobago) and incumbent Second Vice President, Denis Chabrol of Guyana were elected as executive floor members.

The Dominica Media and Communications Association (DMCA) was non-voting observer and was represented by its president Garvin Richards while Carlisle Jno Baptiste of the Media Workers Association of Dominica (MWAD) was the focal point representative of Dominica. MWAD has been dormant now for some time and has since been suspended by the ACM.


Listen