By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) -- The government of Montserrat is leading the charge to ensure that the island becomes a fully enabled ICT society able to attract high value businesses and jobs for its people.
This was highlighted during the first National ICT Day held on Monday, September 17, by director of the Department for Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) Denzil West.
West noted that, although Montserrat does not yet have sub-sea fibre optic connection as every other island in the region, the island is one of the few in the region where every department and employee is connected and has access to a computer and the internet. In the meantime, the government is installing the ducting for future underground cabling of fibre optics in the present A1 Road project.
DITES in the past month rolled out two new Egovernment applications; the Montserrat Online Visa Application (MOVA) and the Montserrat Land Info. MOVA allows travellers to apply and pay for their visa application online; receiving within 24 hours once approved a visa to enter the island. Montserrat Land Info enables anyone interested in viewing property on island, researching land before purchasing, etc., to buy tokens for the website which allow them to access the information. The website is a collaboration of data from the Physical Planning Unit and the Lands and Survey division and managed by the Government Information Systems.
These bring to seven, the number of major systems that help to make government operations more efficient and is providing a higher level of service to clients both locally and in the Diaspora, he said. Some of the other systems include Smart Stream for Government Financial and HR management system, ASYCUDA World, the online customs clearance, and the Microsoft Exchange/Outlook-Email and calendaring software.
West noted that the government’s eStrategy includes moving away from building strictly informational websites to more interactive sites, which allow the user to query and get immediate response and allow for online purchases.
The director added that overcoming the many challenges to create MOVA helped to solve a number of issues which will enable the department to offer more online services. “We see MOVA being upgraded to MOVA Plus offering visa extensions, work permits and other related functions. We want to have ASYCUDA World Enhanced and include provisions for online payments.”
It is hoped that in the not too distant future, DITES in collaboration with the relevant departments will roll out online income tax filing; property tax payments; drivers license applications and payments; registry documentation –births, deaths, marriages, among others.
The Montserrat Online Visa Application (MOVA) system can be accessed at www.immigration.ms
. Read more about the new ICT Plan on www.gov.ms