Paul Keens-Douglas to talk at CMEx in Barbados

Master Story-teller Paul Keens-Douglas has a natural, instinctive ability to put light-hearted Caribbean spins on serious issues. And while he never fails to evoke rib-tickling laughter from his audience, Keens-Douglas’ clear and potent message somehow manages to hit its target. He will be putting his views across at CMEx in Barbados from today until Monday (4-8 December).
His usual flair and style will accentuate his powerful messages with humour when he delivers his lively presentation on “Tourism Is No Joke” at the culminating banquet of the Fifth Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx).Keens-Douglas plans to present the way the average Caribbean citizen sees the tourism industry. “It’s such an important issue, it’s not funny at all,” he said from his Trinidad home. He says he plans to “represent” ordinary Caribbean people and how they see tourism, whether they feel they’re a part of or apart from this important industry. “I plan to bring out what the ordinary man in the Caribbean is feeling about this whole industry called tourism. It really is how you see tourism when you say you’re a tourist island. A Trinidadian man might say, ‘why should I smile and grin teeth?’.”

Keens-Douglas said one of the reasons why the average citizen in some island states may feel alienated from the tourist thrust is because its benefits are not trickling down to them. He suggested one way of getting support from various strata of the society is for hotels and restaurants to increase local content by buying more local fruits and vegetables, fish and animal products.

Another issue of concern to the story teller is keeping local culture alive and buzzing in the tourism industry. “But right now, this culture thing seems to be just a cliché thing. The question is whether the people who manage the tourism on the islands see culture as being part of the sustainability of the tourism industry.”