The Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) once again honoured Guyanese reporter Miranda La Rose for excellence i n coverage of tourism sustainability issues at its Fifth Journalism Awards at Almond Village Resort in Barbados last month.
La Rose, who also was in the winners’ row at CMEx IV in Montego Bay last spring, won pride of place in Barbados for her work for the Stabroek News on the integration of Amerindians in the promotion and delivery of an eco-tourism experience in Guyana. Also garnering top awards at the event were Marvin Hokstam of the Daily Herald in St. Maarten and US-based Barbadian Derrice Deane of the Voice of America.Hokstam was honoured for an article featuring neighbouring Anguilla which showed recognition of the need to conserve culture and environment if tourism is to be a tool for development rather than destruction; while Deane was rewarded for her radio show on the 375th anniversary of the city of Bridgetown, describing how officials used the event last year to preserve local culture and history, both to boost tourism and reinforce the importance of preserving heritage.Local, regional and international journalists, editors, producers and writers were invited to submit their own, or a colleague’s work on any aspect of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region.Dr. Basil Springer, chairman of Counterpart Caribbean and Barbados Advocate columnist, writes: “Already, informal measurement is being made as to the impact of CMEx on increasing the quality of journalism in the tourism sector. This assessment process can be made much more sophisticated as CMEx evolves into a fully financially self sustainable model thus providing objective indicators of the success of the communication process which plays an essential role in our democratic society. “At the recently concluded CMEx, journalists were freely admitting that not only had they benefited from attending the CMEx series, but there was a big gap between their existing practices and their full potential to contribute to the development of our societies. The CMEx events have opened their eyes and it is an experience which would be difficult to simulate in the traditional training settings. The present CMEx Journalist Awards could be the nucleus of such an assessment and accreditation system.“Former CNN news anchor, Andria Hall won top honours in the now traditional CMEx Saturday Night LIVE “No Talent Show” with a rendition of the inspiring ballad “Greatest Love of All”, prompting organisers to consider converting the 2004 spring event to an actual “Talent Competition” after five meetings of improvised - but improving performances. Caymanian reporter Olivia Scott captured the second prize and Lyndon Taylor of the Jamaica Information Service placed third.