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St. Marteen to host Carib News Conference

By John Collins (1)

Seventh annual event Nov. 7-10 to bring together Members of the U.S. Congress with Caribbean government and business leaders.

For the first time this year’s seventh annual Carib News Multi-National Business Conference Nov. 7-10 is to be held in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean at St. Maarten’s Maho Beach Resort in the Netherlands Antilles, announced Karl B. Rodney, chairman and ceo of the New York Carib News, the largest circulation newspaper serving the Caribbean communities in the U.S.

“The aim of the annual affairs is to bring together business and government leaders from the U.S. with their counterparts in the Caribbean to promote greater awareness and understanding of the region as well as to encourage more business through trade, tourism and investment,” said Faye Royney, Carib News president.. “An indication of the importance attached to these meetings is the fact that 18 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have already indicated they will attend.”

Indicating that the conference takes on “added significance this year in the aftermath of 9/11,” Mrs. Rodney  “we are keenly aware of the importance of tourism in the economies of the Caribbean and we intend this conference to be a demonstration of our confidence in the region. We also expect the evolving Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and its potential impact on the Caribbean economies to be discussed.”

Previous venues for the annual meetings have been in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Croix, St. Lucia and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (CB Oct. 21 and 28, Nov. 4, 1999). Hundreds of delegates from the U.S. and from throughout the region are expected to attend this year’s event.

“St. Maarten is thrilled to host this Carib News conference and look forward to welcoming the participants to our island,” said Commissioner Sarah Wescott-Williams of the Government of St. Maarten. “We recognize this event as an important and unique economic and networking opportunity not solely for the entire island of St. Maarten but for our sister islands of Saba, St. Estatius, St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla, Guadeloupe and St. Barts as well as the entire Caribbean region..”

“We are looking forward to forging meaningful relationships with influential leaders from our region, the U.S., the international community and representatives of multinational corporations.”

St. Maarten / St. Martin part of France and the Netherlands

“The smallest island in the world to be shared by two sovereign powers, St. Maarten / St. Martin enjoys the perfect blend of two European cultures with the beauty of a Caribbean paradise.”

Among the regional leaders who have confirmed their attendance are St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Billy Miller, USVI Delegate to the U.S. Congress Dr. Donna Christensen and Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of both Sandals and Air Jamaica.

“There is a clear need for Caribbean government leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to meet and discuss the issues that are important to us,” said Miller. “We are very interested in the growth and development of the Caribbean we support enthusiastically this conference that helps us realize that goal,” said Stewart.

“The Caribbean countries are our friends,” said veteran Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). “They are our neighbors. We have a moral obligation to see that they do well. That is why this conference is so important.” Indicating that “I see myself as a bridge between the U.S. and the Caribbean,” Dr. Christensen, the first black woman physician in the U.S. Congress, said “that is what this conference is all about.”

Among other CBC members expected to attend are Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Reps. Julia Carson (D-IN), Carolyn Kirkpatrick (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Carrie Meek (D-FL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Bennie Thompson (D-MA),  Donald Payne (D-NJ), Ed Towns (D-NY), Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Albert Wynn (D-MD).

A number of other prominent Americans will be attending including former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, entertainer Harry Belafonte, former Mayor of New York David Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, and Hazel Dukes of the New York National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

An indication of the importance which business attaches to the annual conferences is the roster of sponsors which include Air Jamaica, AT&T, Chase Bank, Macy’s ,Texaco Chevron and Time Warner, among others.

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1) Other articles by the well known Caribbean author John Collins can be read at:
www.pymesdominicanas.com

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September 02, 2002

 

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