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CANA shuts down temporarily to restructure

By John Collins

The Barbados-based Caribbean Media Corp. (CMC), citing  “a significant decline in business activities,” ceased operations temporarily Jan. 4 for restructuring. The announcement was made by chief operating officer Gary Allen of the Caribbean News Agency (CANA).

The decision makes 50 of the 54 media professionals unemployed with the remaining four retained “to work on the speedy restructuring of the organization.” How long such a restructuring will take is a matter of speculation. The shocked staff of CANA Radio, which has been on the air for 17 years, were described as “too stunned” to continue their work. The decision came in spite of a $5 million grant from the European Union in 2000 aimed at enabling it to provide better service.

“The once much heralded success story of CANA as a Third World regional news service, and which has been proudly advertising itself with an appropriate logo on the new CMC web page that ‘only the sun covers the Caribbean better,’ is out of operation for the first time since its establishment (25 years ago) amid much fanfare and optimism,” said Barbados-based veteran journalist Rickey Singh, the dean of the Caribbean press corps.

CANA and CMC have performed yeoman service in keeping the people of the diverse countries and states informed of timely developments throughout the region which stretches from Suriname and Guyana on the coast of South America through the insular Caribbean to Belize in Central America and the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Atlantic.

Importantly also has been the role of CANA is keeping the various linguistic groupings in the region tuned in to what was happening in the English-speaking Caribbean as well as the large immigrant communities in North America and Europe.

A check of the CANA web site announced the closure with the news wire terminated but still functioning is the CANA newspaper wire which gives users access to more than three dozen journals in the region.

The shutdown on CANA and CMC comes in the continuing economic downturn worldwide following the 9-11 catastrophe. It finds publications in many parts of the world experiencing declining advertising revenues.

January 28, 2001

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