I read this story below and the “straw has finally” broke the camels back. In the last 3 years I have noticed a disturbing trend where Caribbean media gets no respect. It always existed but I think it has shown it’s face more now than ever. They do not get access or input to items that affect their community. Whether it be the US census, musical events in the Caribbean, local events targeting Caribbean audience and even charitable events. There were the excuses of economy and cutting back but it does not fly. I know of cases were the Caribbean media outlet has offered to pay their own way in exchange for press access and they are still denied. I would call names but it is not my style. So what is the problem with denying Caribbean media access or input in a process that involves their community. The community gets no say in the event. No one knows the community like the Caribbean media and can tell what message works. No one will question the event with the Caribbean community in mind. No one will bring the message to the Caribbean community the way the Caribbean media does.
EVERYBODY’S “Caribbean Magazine” HEADLINE NEWS
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, JANUARY 29-30 2010
SPIKE LEE, PRIME MINISTER MANNING & USAIN BOLT MISSING AT NEW YORK CARIBBEAN GALA
Chief honoree Spike Lee, recipient of the Bob Marley Award, and two other honorees, Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad & Tobago and the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, did not bother to show up at Thursday’s fundraising gala organized by the American Foundation of the University of the West Indies held at the prestigious Pierre Hotel in Manhattan.
Although the other honorees showed up, many former UWI students in New York many of whom are doctors, lawyers and other professionals have been silently boycotting the dinner during the last few years.
They understand and appreciate the AFUWI campaign to raise funds to help the UWI but they prefer to send their funds directly to the UWI rather than supporting the organizers, a few of whom they consider arrogant and using the New York gala to enhance their ego and business.
“People are asked to coffer up $500 per person,” says a prominent UWI graduate in Brooklyn “and when you get to the dinner there is a division of class. A reception is held for one group of chosen few and another reception for the ordinary person who paid $1,000 for his and his wife and they are not appreciated. There is no opportunity for socializing.” Attendance has fallen from near 700 to 350 or less and the trend will continue since so many people were frustrated this year.
The organizers employ professionals to manage the dinner but class and grace are sometimes absent. Last year they refused to have a prominent New York-Caribbean photographer included amongst the media. When he protested, they allegedly called security. This year a small media house that has covered the dinner for twelve years and recently gave the AFUWI US$2,500 toward the cause was denied entry for its journalist. After several calls and run around, the AFUWI sent this cold note, “Thanks for your interest; unfortunately we are unable to accommodate you at this time.”
The local Caribbean-American media except one newspaper is not enthusiastically welcomed at the gala. They are frequently restricted from doing their job and all the recognition is generally given to personalities from the mainstream media such as CNN, BET, WABC-TV and WOR-TV.
With tables as high as $50,000 and with top companies recruited to manage the fundraiser people are beginning to ask how much money is actually give to the UWI and how much is paid unnecessarily to event planners.
The biggest laugh and disappointment at Thursday’s dinner was: Prime Minister Thompson of Barbados was asked to brief speak on behalf of the other two prime ministers present at the gala – all three were honorees – yet Spike Lee was absent but the person who spoke on his behalf evidently was given endless time to speak and the prime ministers and other honorees were not given that opportunity.