The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) founded in 1970 is a not-for-profit association of public service and commercial broadcasters in the Caribbean. Its secretariat is based in Barbados.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, the CBU created several regionally syndicated programmes including CaribScope, Caribbean Newsline, Caribbean News Review, Caribbean Business Weekly, Talk Caribbean, the Caribbean Song Festival, Riddim Express and the CaribVision television news exchange, among other programmes. These were some of the first television programmes to contribute to a nascent regional integration movement and enjoyed wide viewership, particularly CaribScope, a magazine containing arts, cultural and general-interest features submitted by member stations.
Leadership of the association is mainly rotated between representatives of the affiliated media houses. On 9 June 2000 the commercial operations of the CBU and the Caribbean News Agency were merged into the Caribbean Media Corporation, also based in Barbados, which has carried on the business of television production begun by the CBU. The CBU’s current mandate includes the facilitation of some broadcast services, representation, and training of the staff of member stations in support of a unified Caribbean community. It holds an Annual General Assembly (AGA) in one of the member nations every August. Member stations are drawn from the 15 member nations of the Caribbean Community, with the exception of Haiti. Other member stations are drawn from Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and Cuba.
In fulfilling its commitment to the deepening of the integration process, CBU functions in both an advocacy and representation role. As a regional institution, it facilitates discussion and analysis that assist in policy formulation on major integration issues.
CBU is the only Pan-Caribbean medium, reaching over 4.8 million people in the Caribbean and millions of others extra-regionally.
The member territories and associate member territories of the CBU include Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Curacao, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, and the US Virgin Islands.
The Annual General Assembly of the CBU is the supreme body. It is the General Assembly which has all the power necessary to achieve the objectives of the Union. It is the Assembly which admits new members and fixes subscriptions, approves the accounts, the budget and the Union’s programme of activity.
It elects a Board who is headed by the President to be responsible for the affairs of the Union, between Assemblies. The current nine-member board is comprised of :
- President :
Gary Allen – RJRGLEANER Communications Group (Jamaica)
- Vice President:
Amalia Mai – Great Belize Productions
- Kayleaser Deveaux-Isaacs – Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas
- Sushilla Jadoonanan – DirecTV (Trinidad and Tobago)
- David Ellis – Starcom Network (Barbados)
- Emiliana Bernard-Stephenson – Teleislas (Colombia)
- Richard Purcell – One Caribbean Media (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Keith Campbell – The Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica
- Chris Jarrett – Radio Turks and Caicos (Turks and Caicos)
The CBU was originally based at the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana and had only part time administration, in the early years.
In 1981 in Jamaica, the General Assembly, in the interest of the broadcasting systems and the people they serve, determined that the Union needed to establish a permanent Secretariat with a full time Secretary General. Barbados offered, and was selected to be the Headquarters. The first Secretary General was Mr. Jones P. Madeira, the current Secretary General (Ag.) is Hilda Cox-Bullen.
The CBU Secretariat is currently located at the Caribbean Media Centre, in the Harbour Industrial Estate in Bridgetown, Barbados.