Teaser:

The people of  the Caribbean region are deeply saddened by news that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Caribbean Service will end its broadcasts in March. BBC reports that due to a reduction in its Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) a decision was taken by its World Service to cut its Caribbean service. As a result, the last editions of the BBC Caribbean Report and BBC Caribbean Magazine will broadcast on March 25. Similar closures are planned for its Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Portuguese for Africa broadcasts.

 

The closures are not an indication that the service has suffered a reduction in popularity. In fact, a BBC spokesperson acknowledged that the services to be cut are extremely important to the audiences they serve (850,000 in the Caribbean) and to the BBC. The decision is based on spending priorities in the face of budgetary cuts.

The BBC Caribbean Service is incredibly popular both in the region and to persons in the diasporas around the globe. Like my father in his 80s, many older persons remember enjoying and learning from educational BBC programs throughout their school life.  They see the decision as a great loss of a strong, unifying influence. The service has been incredibly reputable and has provided a common cultural reference for islanders in the English-speaking Caribbean. Consequently, many are already mourning the impending loss.

There are those who feel that the world does not seem to need the islands anymore. Others simply hope that at least one of the hundreds of radio stations in the Caribbean would meet the challenge and take up the void in quality broadcasting when the BBC goes off the air.

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