During a telephone conversation with the Caricom Secretary-General Edwin Carrington today, I was informed by the Secretary-General that the licensing of journalists has never been raised at any meeting of any official organ of the Caribbean Community.
He said he knew nothing about such a proposal and that any suggestion that the licensing of journalists was envisaged by the Secretariat "is not true."
I told him that a statement on the issue was made by Timothy Odle of the Caricom Secretariat at a workshop in St Lucia on October 13 at which the heads of several media organisations and institutions were present, including the ACM, CBU and CARIMAC. Media representatives from about 10 Caricom Member States were also present. I am aware that the presentation was also recorded.
Mr Carrington has given the assurance that such a measure has never been contemplated by either the Community or the Secretariat.
He said any proposal to set standards and to better facilitate the free movement of media workers in the region had to be generated by the media themselves.
I am relieved to hear this from the Caricom Secretary-General. Hopefully, this means the end of any such soundings from the regional secretariat and that it is never contemplated by any Caricom Member State in the future.