CARICOM heads approve draft ICT space roadmap

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, February 17, 2017

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government believe that advancing a single Information Communication Technology (ICT) space could drive economic development and enhance the environment for investment in the Community.

Chairman of CARICOM, President David Granger announced at  the closing press conference this evening that theHeads have approved a draft roadmap for a single ICT space. The 15- member s Community met over the last two days in Guyana at the Marriott Hotel for the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.

From left to right: Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Chairman of CARICOM and President of Guyana, David Granger, and Incumbent Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell

“It would support a sustainable increase in growth and jobs and enhance efficiency and increase access to public services,” President Granger said of the initiative.

Incumbent Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, echoing President Granger’s acknowledgements of the benefits of a single ICT space, noted that more details on the roadmap and the financing of the programme will be revealed at the Conference of Heads of Government meeting slated for July in Grenada.

Grenada has lead regional responsibility on Science and Technology, including Information and Communications, within CARICOM’s Quasi Cabinet. “As lead head I cannot overemphasise the importance of ICT,” Prime Minister Mitchell noted.

The single ICT space programme will be designed to help harness and use the power of this aspect of technology for the benefit of the Region as a whole, the Grenadian Prime Minister explained.

The single ICT space will not only deal with ICT, but will also encompass programmes which look at how the Community can make citizens digitally literate, provide high speed next generation networks to support innovation, as well as address cyber security protection with the “best legal and regulatory frameworks to support our citizens in the digital economy.”

Additionally, the single ICT space is expected to provide meaningful partnership among the private sector, public sector and the general public at large. It is expected to link existing national ICT programmes for regional impact. Educational opportunities will also be examined by the programme especially in the seamless linkage in subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque noted that the Community will, “put our foot to the pedal” to ensure that the development of the single ICT space and other objectives set for the July meeting are completed in time.

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the officials who had prepared the document were commended by President Granger for their work in drafting the roadmap.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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