“Human development is about much more than the rise and fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive , creative lives, in accord with their needs and interests. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is about expanding the choices that people have to leads lives that they value. It is thus much more than economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people`s choices.” (http://www.undp.org/hdr2001/chapterone.pdf)
Every so often, and it seems to be happening with an undesirably high frequency level these days, one of our family, friends or colleagues is suddenly plucked away from their earthly abode onto a plane of higher service. The most recent of these was retired Canadian High Commissioner, Noble Power, who was laid to rest last week in the Military Cemetery after a lifetime of military, academic, diplomatic and community service.
Noble was a founder/trustee of the Future Centre Trust which was formed as a result of the vision of the late Governor General of Barbados, Dame Nita Barrow. Following the successful Village of Hope coordinated by Dr. Colin Hudson in 1994, Dame Nita encouraged the establishment of a Future Centre which would be a permanent scientific and educational exhibit capturing the spiritual, social, economic and physical elements of sustainable development. The Village of Hope was part of an NGO forum which complemented the official proceedings at the United Nations Global Summit on Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States which took place in Barbados.
Since then, I have worked closely with Noble, along with many other Trustees of the Future Centre Trust and, last year when Counterpart Caribbean succeeded the Future Centre Trust, Noble continued to be an advisor to Counterpart Caribbean and, in particular, he was coordinator of the Counterpart Caribbean Sustainable Development Awards programme. This programme culminates in an annual Governor General`s Sustainable Development Award chosen from the winners of the three or four events which take place during the year.
Until recently, Noble had submitted to me, as Chairman of Counterpart Caribbean, a project proposal for the continuing development of this programme and was very pleased when he was independently able to obtain a modest contribution to assist with defraying the associated costs. Noble was very enthusiastic about all of the activities of Counterpart Caribbean and his general attitude and demeanour was a stimulus of encouragement for those volunteers who were trying to make a contribution towards preserving planet Earth for future generations.
Noble will, indeed, be missed by the Counterpart Caribbean and the Counterpart International family and we sincerely express our heartfelt condolences to his widow, Jan, and other close relatives.
Amidst the sorrow of death, the last three weeks have been packed with activities which have provided a stimulus for a sustainable future. Arising out of the BizTech Dialogue in Trinidad was an action planning process which will be presented to the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce as a means of promoting business activity in all the countries of the Caribbean. Then last week the third Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) on Sustainable Tourism took place at Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay, which was an action packed forum of interactive dialogue between journalists and tourism & business specialists from the Caribbean and beyond. The objective of CMEx is primarily for the benefit of journalists but I think I can speak for all the participants to say that it is a holistically stimulating and rewarding experience which now has to be moulded so that it can contribute to the future planning of the tourism industry at the regional, national and institutional levels. Indeed, since the BizTech Dialogue outcome is generic in structure, a careful strategic alliance between the BizTech outcome and the CMEx progress is likely to yield synergies which will be mutually beneficial to the stakeholders in planning the future of tourism in the Caribbean.
The BizTech Dialogue framework is geared to address new opportunities and to convert them into commercial realities. It is also concerned with the measures that need to be taken in ensuring the health of businesses after the investment stage. When this model is applied to the tourism sector, many of the current inefficiencies which plague the industry will be addressed, thus giving it a chance to achieve sustainable success in the immediate and medium-term future.
Although I had to leave the CMEx proceedings a day earlier than planned to be in time for Noble`s funeral, I understand that there was a useful intervention after my departure which proposed an evolution of CMEx to influence significantly the future planning for the tourism industry.
Congratulations to the organizers of CMEx for the rapid growth of the concept and the CMEx family. So popular has this bi-annual event become, that the offers of host country have now increased to such an extent that the organizers may find it worth their while to increase its frequency.
Dr. Basil Springer, GCM, is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET) - [email protected]