St. Maarten Prime Minister Opens CBMP/ UNESCO Workshop for Young TV Producers

Dr. Allyson Leacock

Ten young television producers from Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, Tortola and St. Maarten will get the opportunity to hear from the sterling leadership of Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams, Prime Minister of St. Maarten in her Keynote Address about the fight against HIV as a Caribbean leader. It will be on October 18 at the Official Opening Ceremony of a CBMP/UNESCO Workshop for young Caribbean TV producers at Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel in St. Maarten.

These young TV producers will attend a 2-day workshop among their peers from the Caribbean who are expected to produce programmes on priority issues in HIV prevention including multiple concurrent partnerships, low levels of condom use, gender-based violence, masculinities and homophobia.

The Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) are once again collaborating to ensure that a total of 30 young Caribbean TV producers are equipped to produce top quality programming on HIV in this project targeting young TV producers of the Caribbean .

The UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean is providing financial support for a total of three training workshops one of which was already held in Antigua in August and the third will be in Jamaica in November. The objective is to develop the capacities of 30 Young Caribbean television producers in the making of high quality TV programmes, enable their ability to be part of an international network of TV professionals engaged in HIV prevention and increase the number of credible programmes for license-free exchange worldwide.

The St. Maarten workshop in partnership with the Government of St. Maarten and their National AIDS Programme will have the Feature Address by the Prime Minister at The Opening Ceremony for the Workshop that will be hosted by Dr. Allyson Leacock, Executive Director, CBMP with Welcome Remarks by Hon. Silveria Jacobs, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, St. Maarten; while Dame Suzette Moses-Burton, Manager of the National AIDS Programme and Chairman of the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV will deliver remarks.

UNESCO’s immediate importance is to build the capacity of these 30 young television producers from 16 countries to produce 30 high quality TV documentaries, which could be used for programme exchange with other broadcasters of the world through worldwide network which operates from UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

CBMP Executive Director Dr. Allyson Leacock lauded UNESCO’s new Secretary-General to St. Maarten’s National Commission for her enthusiasm in facilitating this workshop even before she was fully installed in her new post. She thanked UNESCO for its continued efforts to effectively respond to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean region and its programme goals that are perfectly aligned with CBMP’s core activities.

CBMP also congratulated St. Maarten on its excellent national programme and “the demonstrated leadership at the highest level by its Prime Minister whose commitment to the cause was demonstrated at the International AIDS Conference in Washington. This commitment coupled with the passion of its Programme Manager Dame Suzette Moses-Burton have made St. Maarten’s work in HIV exemplary across our region. We are therefore proud to partner with them for this initiative.” said Dr. Leacock.

“These planned workshops, along with the CBMP/UNESCO Interactive training Tool which was launched in 2009, are effective strategies to ensuring that the region’s young TV producers are equipped with the necessary tools to effect behaviour change with excellent programming as is currently done by CBMP’s 112 stations in 24 countries throughout the region “, Dr. Leacock stated.

She also noted that at the end of this phase of the CBMP/UNESCO partnership, “the region will have a group of young TV producers who are capable of producing accurate, quality materials to complement the body of HIV work currently being produced in the region”.

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