GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The secretary general of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Bernadette Lewis, addressed the 28th inter-sessional meeting of the conference of the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on February 17, 2017, in Georgetown, Guyana.
On the subject of the vision and roadmap for the CARICOM Single ICT Space, Lewis made a presentation on behalf of the CTU, the lead agency for the development of the document. She noted the contribution of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration, the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network Agency, the CARICOM Secretariat and many other organisations and individuals from the public and private sectors and civil society, who were consulted in developing the roadmap.
Having been asked by the CARICOM head responsible for science and technology, Dr Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada, to present a high-level view of the roadmap to the conference, the secretary general stated the vision for the CARICOM Single ICT Space as: an ICT-enabled borderless space that fosters economic, social and cultural integration for the betterment of Caribbean citizens.
She defined it as an ecosystem of regionally harmonised ICT policies, legislation, regulations, technical standards, best practices, networks and services.
The secretary general explained that the objective of the CARICOM Single ICT Space is to provide the ICT-enabled foundation for enhancing both CARICOM’s functional cooperation and fulfilling the social, cultural and economic imperatives of the region.
However, in order to meet the objective identified above, the CARICOM Single ICT Space must be characterised by regionally harmonised ICT policy, legal and regulatory regimes; robust national and regional broadband infrastructure; common frameworks for governments, ICT service providers and consumers; and effective, secure technology and management systems.
It is expected that the most significant outcomes resulting from a CARICOM Single ICT Space are ubiquity and consistency of ICT services across the Caribbean Community at affordable prices to citizens.
In concluding, the secretary general stated that the establishment of the CARICOM Single ICT Space is a complex undertaking, which presents many challenges, but these can be overcome through regional and institutional collaboration and cooperation. It requires champions at the highest levels of government and their commitment to collaborate nationally and regionally; creativity and innovation; and strengthening of the CARICOM institutions responsible for its implementation.
She further underscored that it also entails public awareness and education as there are many technological solutions for the challenges we face as a region and that we need to expose all sectors of the society to them, from governments to the man on the street; appropriate planning; and the political will and commitment to drive the process.
The roadmap was approved by the conference.