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Media Awards given to journalist at CMEx

ST. LUCIA – A St. Lucian broadcast journalist, a writer from Guyana and an international travel trade reporter are recipients of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) Journalism Excellence Awards.

Broadcaster Timothy Poleon of RCI International in St. Lucia; Neil Marks of the Guyana Chronicle; and Travel Weekly’s Gay Nagle Myers of New Jersey received Counterpart International’s CMEx awards on Sunday evening at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and Spa.

“We are pleased to recognize excellence in reporting on sustainable tourism and on the important issue of climate change,” said Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization.

Congratulating the winners, St. Lucia’s tourism minister Senator Allen Chastanet says St. Lucia is proud to play its part in efforts to maintain and promote the Caribbean as one of the world’s premier destinations for sustainable tourism development.

The fact St. Lucia has agreed to host the event each year is “a significant development both in the context of our development and that of the Caribbean.”

The Tourism and Aviation Minister, who formally addressed the conference at both the Royal St. Lucian and Bay Gardens Beach Resort on Sunday, said CMEx plays a “very significant role” in educating the media on various tourism issues since it was initiated six years ago.

“We can safely say that many more journalists are now able to report more confidently on tourism issues and hold accountable those responsible for the development of the sector,” Chastanet added.

The senator said it is his hope that more media institutions – both electronic and print – will take advantage of opportunities offered by CMEx.

“There is certainly an opportunity for reporters to be better educated on tourism issues, and capitalize on opportunities for networking and sharing information with other members of the regional and international media. That’s just one level of innovation that CMEx provides,” he said.

Over the weekend, the Caribbean Media Exchange – launched by Counterpart International in 2001 – attracted reporters, editors, young people and development specialists who interacted face-to-face with representatives of the hospitality sector, civil society and government to explore the theme “Caribbean Tourism: Another Level of Innovation.” Key was examining how tourism policies can be aimed at improving the lives of Caribbean people.

Winners of the CMEx talent competition, also held on Sunday, were New York-based youth delegate Sam Montgomery who sung his way to victory; Antiguan freelance journalist and storyteller, Anika Kentish; and Kyle Harrigan, a youth delegate and tourism officer from the British Virgin Islands who was victorious in song.

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