Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Anthony Newbold steps down as Bahamas Press Club President; Anthony Capron voted in

Anthony Newbold (left) hands the gavel to Anthony Capron.
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Veteran journalist Anthony Capron takes the gavel and is now President of The Bahamas Press Club 2014. Mr. Capron was unanimously voted in, succeeding Anthony A Newbold, who led the organization for almost three years.

Mr. Newbold officially stepped down as president during the Annual General Meeting held at the British Colonial Hilton on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. He relinquished the post following his appointment as Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister on May 18, 2017; so as to avoid any conflict of interest.

Mr. Newbold thanked the executives and members for their support since the reestablishment of The Press Club in 2014. He also pledged his continued support to the further growth of the organization and encouraged members of the mass media to join.

He also encouraged media professionals to submit their work for judging in the Press Club Media Awards scheduled for November 18, 2017. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Incoming President Anthony Capron thanked outgoing president Newbold for his dedicated service over the past three years and pledged to work for the growth of The Press Club.

British Colonial Hilton-Harry Oakes Room
JUNE 27TH, 2017

Good evening and thank you for coming to this third Annual General Meeting of The Bahamas Press Club 2014.

Despite what some may consider great odds we continue to survive. However, the ultimate survival of the club depends on you and those you can convince of the righteousness of this cause.

On May 10th, 2017, Bahamians went to the polls and 91,000 of them decided that it was time for a new government. The Free National Movement led by Dr. Hubert Minnis polled 91,394 votes or 56.98% of the ballots cast to the Perry Christie led progressive liberal party’s 59,248 or 36.9% to win the most lopsided victory in the political history of The Bahamas.

Baha Mar, the decade old project that continues to tease the Bahamian people inched a step closer to becoming a real player in the economic life of the country with a soft opening in early may. President Graeme Davis says the resort is on track for the planned ramping up of operations.

This is important as the GFS deficit for 2017/18 is expected to be $323 million. While it is a marked improvement from the $500 million deficit in 2016/17, it is still higher than the $310 million deficit posted in 2015/16. The new government has promised robust efforts at collecting outstanding amounts owed to the government and introducing new measures to earn revenue.

Crime is still a problem that residents of New Providence in particular hope the new government can get a handle on, especially murders.

We have once again been able to attract some of the best and brightest to our ranks. Included in the list is head of media at the University of the Bahamas, Dr. Yvette Stuart. It is expected that others like tribune chief reporter Ava Turnquest will once again step forward for service as every able bodied member of the media is needed to move the organization forward.

The Bahamas Press Club became a Founding Member of The African Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) Press Clubs Federation in October 2016. I was fortunate to represent The Club at the Founding Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.

Because of my involvement in the meeting and moving the process forward, I was voted on to the Interim Executive Council, which remains in place until 2018 when a permanent council will be appointed.

The follow-up meeting was held in Brussels in November 2016 where further steps were taken to solidify the mandate of the Federation and create new alliances.

At that time, despite my absence, I was appointed vice president of the organization and charged with producing a business plan.

My attendance brought us to the attention of The Press Club of Brussels and the International Federation of Journalists. Both are robust organizations and membership in either is a coveted item.

We were privileged to have several interesting presenters over the past 12 months, none more influential or important than Prime Minister, Dr. Hon. Hubert Minnis. He spoke to us shortly before the General Election and addressed the role and expectations of the press from a public perspective. Dr. Minnis also encourage journalists to be more diligent in preparing their stories and reports and to dig deeper for the real story.

Attorney Alfred Sears also addressed The Club shortly before Dr. Minnis. Mr. Sears was, at the time, contesting for the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Sears was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat Party Leader and then Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.

We also heard the views of Canadian/Guyanese John “Ish” Ishmael on Citizen Journalism and from Ms. Mary Curtis from the National Public Radio on the recent U.S. Election via skype.

As always The Press Club Awards on November 19th, 2016 was the signature event of the year. For the first time the number of awards presented was expanded, with the Lifetime Achievement Award going to his Excellency, Calsey Johnson, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada.

Awards for Best Documentary, Political Story and Best Photograph among others, were presented. While several categories were not represented, Columnist of The Year, for example, we should not be deterred in seeking to generate interests for all of them in 2017.

Former Jamaican Prime Minister, The Most Honorable P. J. Patterson was the keynote speaker.

The University of the Bahamas held Media Week, March 19th – 25th on the campus. The Press Club was invited to sponsor a Media Reception, which we did at Choices Restaurant. By all accounts it was well received. Thanks go to among others, Secretary Lindsay Thompson, Treasurer Vincent Vaughan, Gina Morley, Deandre Williamson and Frankie Ferguson who provided food for the reception and Charles Sawyer for the brochures. The Club will need to engage in more events such as this to increase its profile and visibility and to pique the interest of those we wish to attract. Several scholarships were awarded, thanks to Assistant Prof Winston Mitchell, UB Journalism, who arranged for The Club to be invited to sponsor the event.

Berthony McDermott and Jillian Grey are among those students.

After many fits and starts I am proud to formally announce tonight that The Bahamas Press Club has a new and functioning web site, designed and built by our own Deandre Williamson. The website will be officially launched shortly. I also note that Deandre was the First Place Winner in the Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity.

I have been fortunate to be tapped by the prime minister to be his press secretary. The first one ever in The Bahamas. Another milestone for The Bahamas Press Club. As a consequence I must resign as president of this fine organization.

As I turn over the gavel tonight, I reflect on June 2013 when I began the journey that resulted in this latest incarnation of The Bahamas Press Club.

Unfortunately conditions were pretty much the same: the country was beset with crime and deficits and journalists were not bonding and banding together as we should to advance the profession.

However, in all fairness, we have made great strides since then.

We are now in our third year of existence, with the first Pioneer Awards and Mrs. Eileen Carron as the Lifetime Achievement Awardee, under our belt. The public attention and respect we were able to garner propelled us into the 2nd Annual Media Awards last November. And, we can boast membership in the ACP Press Clubs Federation. Locally we can say that our members remain steady with the possibility of growth.

There is obviously much work to be done but I am confident that you have within this organization the ability to accomplish much. It is now a matter of will and commitment.

I must commend my executives who have been steadfast with me since the beginning. Lindsay Thompson, our secretary, Vincent Vaughan our treasurer and Anthony Capron, our 1st vice president who takes the gavel tonight in order of succession.

I could not have done it without you and you have my undying gratitude. I must also commend Frankie Ferguson who could not be here but who was always ready to lend his support, especially when I needed a quorum. I thank Charles Sawyer, who also could not be here. Going forward you have 60 days, until August 29th, to either confirm Mr. Capron or choose a New President. You will also get to choose a vice president. In the meantime, please give Mr. Capron the kind of support you gave to me. That is what he will need. I wish you well and much success. The world awaits you.

I will always be available for advice and consultation but I must move on. It has been a labor of love. Those of us who love the profession must never give up on any effort to make it better and more effective.

God speed and good night!