“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead” – Proverbs 21:16

We exist to discover. As we journey along the discovery spectrum we evolve from our exposure to data and information which then constitutes our state of knowledge. Our continuing pursuits transport us through the maze of insight and understanding to the rarefied atmosphere of wisdom.

The month of September has been, and will hopefully continue to be, very stimulating for me as I imbibe the opportunities for understanding and stay in the land of the living.

The first stimulus was a visit from the Dubai-based grandchildren which is a rare but treasured event. As we see them grow from year to year, one reflects on the fact that “We do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we borrow it from our children and grandchildren!” We must therefore understand our responsibility to make the world a safe and prosperous place for posterity.

Last week, I was stimulated by a short visit to Toronto after an absence of seven years. I met family, friends and colleagues; and engaged in diverse culinary delights. These were sandwiched by a number of professional activities in an ideal ambient environment and the combo contributed to a much needed change which I can testify “is as good as a rest”.  The visit to Toronto meant that the deadlines for my Barbados assignments had to be extended, but I believe that overall my decision to travel north resulted in a net positive benefit, when all things are taken into consideration.

The primary purpose of my visit was to attend the International launch of Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution Inc. (CTWD), a Bimventures company, which was first launched in Barbados in May 2010. The leading luminary of CTWD is CEO Frances-Anne Solomon, herself a renowned film-maker. CTWD is the first ever film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean aimed at creating money making opportunities for producers of Caribbean content. According to the CEO “there is an explosion of product coming out of the region and there is a need for a focused distribution strategy to ensure that this content gets the best deals on the international market.” Indeed, she believes that the Caribbean, because of its ethnic,  language, culinary, cultural and artistic diversity, is a reservoir for potential stories that will appeal to a wide cross-section of people.

The launch itself last Tuesday evening, which was juxtaposed with the world famous Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), was attended by scores of dignitaries in the film business as well as many seasoned and prospective Caribbean film makers. Other activities during the week included a unique CTWD Market Development Programme for top Caribbean producers and film makers.  As part of this exercise 22 Caribbean films were pitched to a panel of stakeholders with magnificent success.  This programme was oversubscribed to the extent that only 50% of the 50 applicants could be accommodated. This gives us some indication of the current film making talent in the Caribbean. Already the company boasts a distribution catalogue of over 50 films and television programs by some of the finest film makers from the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

The week culminated with a board meeting of CTWD chaired by Dr. Keith Nurse. In attendance were Frances-Anne Solomon, Mary Wells, Trinidadian executive Dr. Terrence Farrell and myself representing Bimventures. Trinidadian Producer, Director and Media Personality Lisa Wickham, the other director, was unable to attend.

Next week the film-makers will be exposed to the presentations at the TIFF. The launch and the attendant activities were sponsored by Caribbean Export, Caricom Secretariat, Invest Barbados, Commonwealth Foundation, Canada Council of Arts and UNIDO. CTWD will mount an annual Best of Caribbean Tales Film Festival held in Barbados each February; and an event to dovetail with the TIFF each Fall.  Whereas its primary revenue stream will be from film distribution, revenue contributions from the festival activities, training and facilitation of film production will not be ignored.

These CTWD activities will position Barbados as a “Centre of Excellence” for Caribbean film production and distribution thus providing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce with another plank on which to build the new Bridgetown Barbados Brand as part of its Revitalisation of Bridgetown Initiative.

Another stimulating experience is the planning for the E-Team’s inaugural conference and awards ceremony on 16 and 17 November 2010 which is well advanced.  The PR activity should soon be evident.  It is going to be a star-studded event and there will be much food for thought for entrepreneurs and other stakeholders of business enterprises.

The President of The Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI), Professor Cardinal Warde has advised that CADSTI will launch the Caribbean Science Foundation as part of a forum entitled “Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship – The Way Forward for the Caribbean” from September 21-23, 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago.  It will be a major regional calendar event that will provide a new stimulus for science and technology as a vehicle for economic development.

If the 18 previous CMEx conferences and networking sessions were to serve as a guide, the 19th Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) on Sustainable Tourism event, hosted in Kingston Jamaica from 30 Sep to 04 Oct, 2010, with the theme “Tourism: Linkages for Growth”,  will be equally stimulating.

As we improve our understanding of each of these exciting prospects there is no doubt in my mind that there will be many stimuli to keep us alive and well.