Ministers green-light Single ICT Space Integrated Work Plan

Special COTED ICT 19 May 2017 from Caribbean Community on Vimeo.

“The work on the Single ICT space forces us to collaborate like never before as Ministers, policy-makers, officials and civil society, if we are going to succeed and advance as a Region.” Chair of COTED ICT, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Friday, 19 May, 2017, approved the Integrated Work Plan for the Community’s Single ICT Space.

The approval came during discussions at the Sixty-Eighth Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on ICT. The Virtual Meeting was anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 are premised on the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from key regional Commissions and the Post-2015 Agenda.

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Ministers meet on moving Single ICT Space forward

FLASHBACK: CARICOM DeputyProgramme Manager, ICT4D, Ms. Jennifer Britton, and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox at one of the preparatory meetings in March, 2017
FLASHBACK: CARICOM Deputy Programme Manager, ICT4D, Ms. Jennifer Britton, and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox at one of the preparatory meetings in March, 2017

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) meet tomorrow, 19 May, 2017, as effort continue to move on the establishment of the CARICOM Single ICT Space.

The Ministers convene for the Sixty-Eighth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on ICT via videoconferencing anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Several preparatory meetings of officials were held to advance work on the Integrated Work Plan for the Single ICT Space, and the draft Terms of Reference for the CARICOM-US Joint Task Force.  The Integrated Work Plan will set out the activities that need to be completed for the development of the Single ICT Space. The activities of the work plan will focus on areas such as conducting gap analyses, public awareness, specific telecommunications issues, legal and regulatory reform cyber security, bringing technology to the people, resource mobilisation, as well as, forecasting for the CARICOM Digital Agenda 2025.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 will be constructed on the foundation of the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from the Commission on the Economy and the Post-2015 Agenda.

CARICOM Heads of Government approved the Road map for the Single ICT Space in February 2017.

Working together – CARICOM SG, Ambassadors and Heads of Community Institutions

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Work to strengthen the Region’s governance and implementation structures continued Thursday with the first joint meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Community Institutions and the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors  at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.

Thursday’s exchanges followed the fifth Meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors, held at the CARICOM Secretariat, also in Georgetown, on Wednesday. The Committee plays an important role in the governance structure of the Community, providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Community Council towards advancing the integration movement.

The Heads of Community Institutions  meet regularly with the Secretary-General to seek to harmonise efforts towards implementation of the CARICOM Strategic Plan.

Several participants joined the meeting via video conference.

 

Region needs to develop digital financial services sector – CTU President

Telecommunications Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Week at the Crane Resort. (Photo by C.Henry via BGIS)
Senator Darcy Boyce, President, Caribbean Telecommunications Union  (Photo by C.Henry via BGIS)

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – “The ITU, UNECLAC, the CTU, the various bankers’ associations, the central bankers, the anti-money laundering regulators, the digital financial Services technology providers, the cyber security experts and the consumer protection officials need to see how we, as a region, can develop our regional DFS sector,” stated Hon. Darcy W. Boyce, the President of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, and Senator in the Office of the Prime Minister Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados.

Senator Boyce made a call for collaboration during the opening ceremony of the Digital Financial Services (DFS) Workshop, held in Port-of-Spain, 27-28 April, 2017.

The CTU President further gave the rationale for providing these services in the region: “Digital financial services, through the attributes of digital financial inclusion have significant potential to provide a range of affordable, convenient and secure banking services to the poor people, small and micro enterprises in the region.”

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Data is the new oil – TT Minister

From (left to right) - Cleveland Thomas, ITU Caribbean Representative; Dr. John Prince, CEO Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; the Hon. Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Guyana; Gilbert Peterson, S.C., Chairman TATT; the Hon. Maxie Cuffie M.P. - La Horquetta/Talparo, Minister of Public Administration and Communications; the Hon. Melford Nicholas, Minister of Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Information, Antigua and Barbuda; Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Sylvester Cadette, ITU Programme Officer, ITU Area Office, Barbados. (Photo courtesy Ministry of Public Administration and Communications Trinidad and Tobago)
From left, Cleveland Thomas, ITU Caribbean Representative; Dr. John Prince, CEO Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; the Hon. Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Guyana; Gilbert Peterson, S.C., Chairman TATT; the Hon. Maxie Cuffie M.P. – La Horquetta/Talparo, Minister of Public Administration and Communications; the Hon. Melford Nicholas, Minister of Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Information, Antigua and Barbuda; Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Sylvester Cadette, ITU Programme Officer, ITU Area Office, Barbados. (Photo courtesy Ministry of Public Administration and Communications Trinidad and Tobago)

 “By enabling things to communicate with each other independently of human interaction, the Internet of Things (IoT) opens up possibilities of new business models, new types of services and new revenue streams. The Internet of Things can facilitate new levels of efficiency, improving the way existing service across many different sectors are delivered,” remarked Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), during the opening ceremony of the Internet of Things Forum: Smarter Living in the Caribbean, April 24-26, 2017.

Cognizant of the potential of this technology to improve lives, she further cautioned the need to protect citizens’ digital and physical possessions and their privacy.

“As we embrace the concept of the Internet of Things, we have to be mindful of the potential societal impact. Provisions must be made to protect citizens’ person, their intellectual, digital and physical possessions and their privacy,” she said.

The Forum was organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in collaboration with the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus, Caribbean Telecommunications Union, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. (more…)