CTU’s 17th Ministerial Seminar explored post COVID-19 imperatives for digital transformation

From left, Ms. Josanne Leonard, Master of Ceremonies; Mr. Selby Wilson, Telecommunications Strategist, CTU; and Mr. Rodney Taylor, CTU Secretary General, at the 17th Ministerial Seminar
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(Caribbean Telecommunications Union Press Release) Wide-ranging, thought-provoking presentations aptly revolving around this year’s theme, ‘Regional Imperatives for Digital Transformation Post COVID-19’, fuelled dynamic discussion during the 17th Ministerial Seminar of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) ICT Week 2021.

Host Josanne Leonard with moderators Nigel Cassimire, Telecommunications Specialist, CTU; Kirk Sookram, Deputy CEO of TATT; Dr Annalee Babb, Founder and CEO of Intersections; Junior McIntyre, ICT Consultant, CTU; and Trevor Prevatt, Consultant, CTU, expertly navigated the audience through the flows of information shared by the panellists and keynote speakers.

From the start of the day’s proceedings with keynote addresses by Robert Willett, former Global CEO of Best Buy International who spoke on the “Implications of COVID-19 and the Adoption of Technology”, and Antonio Quiroz, Public Relations Vice President for Huawei Latin America, who brought into full focus the need for “ Developing ICT Talent for Digital Transformation and Innovation”; participants were immediately made aware that the day’s sessions would provide an excellent pathway for ventilating the nuances of digital transformation.

Willett openly shared the view that technology must be used to evolve all aspects of society and build on the strengths of what a country had to offer. Quiroz impressed upon the audience the need for the region’s human resources to be upskilled to match the pace of the fast-evolving technologies available in an increasingly digitised workspace.

Next, the attentive, interactive audience was exposed to a session on the Tech Solutions for a Regional Travel Bubble. Presenters, Dr Lisa Indar of CARPHA; Frank O’Carroll of Digicel; Filipe Reis of IATA and Donovan Smith of CARICOM IMPACS; in their spheres of healthcare, telecoms operator, the airline industry and security. All noted that integrated digital systems, regional communication and collaboration and the secure sharing of data could positively augment the perceptions of visitors that the Caribbean is a safe travel destination.

An intriguing discourse on the Caribbean as a Mecca for Digital Nomads provided the views of the Honourable E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration, Antigua and Barbuda; Professor Avinash Persaud, Chairman, CARICOM Commission on the Economy; David Cox, Chairman of CANTO; and Michele Marius, ICT Consultant. Minster Greene spoke about his country’s Digital Nomad Programme which sought to complement the traditional tourism product and provide an avenue to stem the fall-off in tourism due to the pandemic.

Also holding the spotlight was the concept of Digital Identity. Shrikant Karwa, Country Relationship Officer of MOSIP; Dr Clarence Henry, Senior Technical Officer at the OECS Commission and Mark Arruda of Cloud Carib all noted the benefits of creating digital identities as an immediate consideration on the path towards the successful digital transformation of the Region.

The afternoon’s Sponsor Lightning Presentations allowed key event sponsors an opportunity to share not only their production offerings, but also industry concerns. Participants got a glimpse into TSTT’s Cloud Services and industry certified data centres; Cloud Carib’s indigenous Cloud provider solutions; and Viasat’s options for accelerating the Caribbean’s digital transformation processes via satellite technologies.

The day’s events wrapped with a short interchange among host Josanne Leonard, CTU Secretary General, Rodney Taylor and Telecommunications Strategist, Selby Wilson.

Day 4 promises similarly intriguing sessions during the Regulators Forum and the ICT Technical Forum as the Region continues its journey towards Digital Transformation.

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