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SIGNIS Caribbean forging new direction

New SIGNIS Caribbean Executive are (from left) Lisa Bhajan, Faroz Abdoelrazak, Suzanne Dowdy and Ruben Wong. Photo: Enrico de Shong

By Renée Smith,

SIGNIS Caribbean voted for a new Executive Board during the organisation’s three-day Annual General Meeting (September 4–6) held at the Seminary of St John Vianney, Mount St Benedict. SIGNIS Caribbean brings together Catholic communicators across the AEC region with representatives of eight dioceses present this year.

The elections took place on the closing day, September 6 with the new executive board elected for the period 2018–2021. Trinity TV’s Station Manager, Lisa Bhajan has been elected as the fourth President of SIGNIS Caribbean. Other members are Faroz Abdoelrazak of Suriname, Vice President; Suzanne Dowdy of Trinidad and Tobago, Secretary; and Ruben Wong of Belize as Treasurer. Msgr William John-Lewis (Dominica) remains the theological adviser.

Bhajan said she was “excited” to serve as President of SIGNIS Caribbean having been a part of the organisation since its inception in 2007, and serving other positions on the Board.

She added she was “very pleased” with this year’s AGM as the group attempted different approaches to fulfil the mission of SIGNIS.  This included adding a training element for members in the spheres of video, audio and social media.

The Mission of SIGNIS incorporates engaging with media professionals, supporting Catholic communicators and helping to transform our cultures in the light of the Gospel through the promotion of Human Dignity, Justice and Reconciliation.

“Another highlight of our AGM has also been re-examining SIGNIS Caribbean’s objectives and mandates and comparing them to SIGNIS [World] and SIGNIS Latin America which give us a sense of direction as to how we could move ahead as an organisation,” Bhajan commented.

Present during the AGM was Archbishop Jason Gordon who also played an active role in SIGNIS for several years. At the 2017 AGM in Barbados, Msgr John-Lewis replaced him as theological adviser and moving forward Archbishop Gordon decided not to have an active role in the board but pledged to continue accompanying new directors from his position of archbishop.

Speaking on the challenges faced by the region, Archbishop Gordon stated a “paradigm shift needs to happen in the minds of those in leadership positions, moving from analogue to digital”.

He went on to say society is facing an acceleration in climate change, the business arena, and in technology. “We are in a world of unprecedented change at a rate we have never seen before. The millennial generation has grown up in a digital world and cannot understand those who long for and desire to go back to an analogue world,” Archbishop Gordon said.

From this he asked members of SIGNIS Caribbean “How do we hand on the faith to the next generation?” and suggested people of “like minds” need to gather together to jump into the “river of grace” using this opportunity to make a way forward.