“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” – Luke 8:14-15
The Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) was launched in 2001 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. For 2019 the CMEx Board of Directors focused its attention on recognizing and celebrating the achievements and talent within the Caribbean tourism and hospitality industry.
On Saturday night, the organization took its activities to a new level by mounting an awards and fundraising event at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami, Florida. More than 200 individuals attended the star-studded event in an evening of reflection, information, recognition, entertainment and camaraderie.
Zhivargo Laing, a former Bahamian Minister of Finance, delivered a keynote address, giving a first-hand account of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian in the northern Bahamas and the continuing need for recovery assistance. His message was that “successful leadership turns people to each other and brings us together”.
Eleven honorees represented many aspects of the Caribbean tourism and linkage industries and hailed from eight countries.
The 2019 CMEx Industry Leadership Awards event sponsors included hotels and resorts that contributed hotel stays as auction prizes. Live entertainment was provided by a steel pannist, cultural dancers and mocko jumbie from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and “Lord Relator”, the legendary lyrical extempo artist from Trinidad and Tobago.
The beneficiaries of this year’s fundraiser are the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (established 1986) and the Errol & Nita Barrow Educational Trust (established 1989).
The primary activity of CMEx is to bring together journalism and tourism stakeholders so that appropriate, accurate messages are communicated to the public.
Hundreds of persons have participated in formal CMEx events in the first 10 years of its operations and, since 2011, CMEx has emphasized recognizing leadership in the Caribbean tourism industry and providing philanthropic support to deserving Caribbean causes, mainly those that work the youth.
The CMEx board will now address its 2020 vision, which will include more fundraising events to continue to help others.
It will also make a concerted effort to return to its original activities by mounting interactive conferences which match journalists from the Caribbean, North America and Europe with representatives of the government, business, hospitality and development sectors to discuss how tourism policies can improve the lives of Caribbean people.
CMEx, a US-based nonprofit organization (www.cmexmedia.org), is a sister organization of Marketplace Excellence Corporation (MPE), a full-scale public relations, marketing, hospitality sales and meetings sales services company. Bevan Springer is its principal, it has a board of directors and is fully supported by members of the MPE team.
CMEx began by planting seeds in 2001. Many of these seeds have fallen on good ground and the manifestation has been the history of timely assistance to the youth in the Caribbean and North America.
One major success has been the establishment of MPE whose services are now in growing demand in the Caribbean and North America. As we say internally, if CMEx and MPE do well, we shall all do well.