10th quadriennal conference of CARBICA, Fort-de-France, Martinique, 2-6 December 2014 - Press release

"Open access ?" : répondre aux défis de l'accès aux archives et aux données publiques dans la Caraïbe

Access  to  archives  and  open  data  were  the  leitmotiv  of  the  10th  quadrennial  conference  of Caribbean archives organised  from December 2nd to 5th in Martinique by CARBICA, the association which brings together archivists from the English, French and Dutch-­‐speaking  Caribbean in close partnership with the departmental archives of Martinique.

In the presence of more than one hundred professionals from the Caribbean, local executives from Martinique  and  Guadeloupe,  the  issues  of  personal  data  protection,  open  government,  the difficulties posed by the application of overlapping or deficient laws, the teaching of concrete examples from the Caribbean and the world over were exposed and debated by presenters from the fields of archiving, information and communication technology (ITC), public administration and university research. No fewer than 15 countries and territories were represented during the public conference  on  December  2nd  ,  and  during  the  training  workshops  which  continued  from  December 3rd to 5th at the Departmental Archives of Martinique. 

How  to  foster  the  growth  of  «  a  knowledge-­‐based  economy »  while  respecting  the evolving framework, in Europe as well as the countries of the Caribbean, respect for private life and the right to information ? The public debate opened by this conference in Martinique, as well as the tools proposed during these training sessions, henceforth allow archivists to fully embrace the role they must play in access to information.   

The  interactive  workshops,  in  French  and  English,  facilitated  by  Trudy  Peterson,  specialist  in questions of access and human rights (United States), Bruno Ricard, « Mr. Open data » of the inter-­‐ ministerial service of the archives of France (France), Avril Belfon (Trinidad and Tobago), Sharon Alexander-­‐Gooding and Cherri-­‐Ann Beckles (Barbados) who explored the legal framework in the English-­‐speaking islands of the Caribbean and their impact on the archives, allowed participants to better position themselves with  regards to  problem-­‐solving  (identification of  risks  and  possible recourse). 

The 10th CARBICA conference, organised with the support of the General Council of Martinique, the Regional Cooperation Fund,  the International Council of Archives, the French Ministry of Culture, the Regional Council of Martinique, the General Council of Guadeloupe proposed a distinctive formula which  guaranteed  a  mix  of  professions,  thanks  to  a  partnership  with  the  National  Centre  for Territorial Public Service (CNFPT in French) and a combination of a public conference with practical professional work sessions.

The side events of CARBICA X also created a unique opportunity for regional cooperation: 

The   Departmental  Archives   welcomed  an   intern   from   Barbados  for   an   orientation programme in conservation and restoration techniques.
Mrs. Silvia Ninita de Moura Estevao, of the National Archives of Brazil, met with high school students of Portuguese at the Bellevue High School.
A mini-­‐exhibition  presenting an historical retrospective of Caribbean archival cooperation and  presentation  of  Caribbean  archives  was  set  up  in  the  lobby  of  the  Departmental Archives.

The 10th conference of Caribbean Archives concluded with concrete resolutions in order to advance, with transparency and legal security, the opening of public archives to the citizenry : the Caribbean Archives Association, CARBICA, adopted the Principles of access to archives promoted by the International Council of Archives and committed itself to working towards them being taken into greater consideration in the legislations of the countries concerned. A summary of the current status will be quickly conducted, through an on-­‐line questionnaire and the results will be published, as well as a selection of communications presented at the December 2nd  conference. The CARBICA website will also enable sharing of procedures and forms developed by the archival services of the membership as useful documentary resources.

For further information, visit: www.carbica.org

CARBICA X in a few figures

94 participants at the conference held on December 2nd 
16  countries and  territories represented :  Barbados, Belize,  Bermuda, Brazil,  Curacao,  Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, French Guiana, Haiti, Martinique, Saint-­‐Martin, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, metropolitan France.
3  workshops: « legislation  and  access  to  archives »,  « re-­‐use  of  public  data:  new  challenges », « implementation of principles of access », with 12, 19 and 34 participants respectively.