NASSAU, Bahamas - The 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Annual Conference themed “Culture and Knowledge Economies: The Future of Caribbean Development?” was held at the Meliã Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas on June 5-10, 2017. Department of Culture Policy Officer Sharine Allamby was amongst the 300 attendees and other St. Maarten representatives including Mrs. Okama Brook, Program Chair of the CSA’s Executive Council and academics Dr. Francio Guadeloupe and Dean Geneve Philips of the University of St. Martin (USM). The main aim of this annual conference was for key players to examine opportunities and challenges facing the Caribbean, regionally and globally. Multi-disciplinary work was shared through plenary sessions and panel discussions, presentations, published journals, books, thesis papers and dissertations.
Informative sessions included “Building a Nation: Institutional Practices in the Dutch Caribbean” and a presentation was given on ‘Restricted Media Landscapes of Curaçao and St. Maarten’, by Ph.D. Candidate Sanne Rotmeijer of Leiden University. Geneve Philips-Durham presented on ‘Approaches to Governance in St. Maarten, Curaçao and Trinidad and Tobago.’ Other sessions highlighted ‘Creative and Cultural Industries: Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘Culture and Development Policy: Regional Perspectives’, ‘Constitutional Reform in the Contemporary Caribbean’, ‘Caribbean in/securities and the creative imagination and ‘The Politics of Development and Challenges in Participatory Public Policy Making’.
During the opening ceremony, the Bahamas Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Honorable Michael Pintard gave a superb keynote address and a local ‘Junkanoo’ performance took place. In addition, participants were treated to a myriad of cultural activities including a tribute to the late Caribbean Poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and a stage play ‘Honorable Member’ by Bahamian Playwright Ian Strachan. Bahamian heritage and culture tours were arranged throughout the week and the closing banquet and award ceremony recognized executives and members’ achievements and contributions. “CSA enables the most esteemed cultural/creative professionals and scholars throughout the Caribbean and within the diaspora to interact, exchange and acquire ideas, information and research. Overall, this was a knowledge enhancing experience and more policymakers from across the Caribbean Region should take advantage of this conference and provide public policy paradigms and perspectives from our respective countries” Allamby stated.