Minister Hughes – ICT to transform lives in Guyan


Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, (25th April, 2017)

“By enabling things to communicate with each other independently of human interaction, the Internet of Things (IoT) opens up possibilities for new business models, new types of services and new revenue streams. The Internet of Things can facilitate new levels of efficiency and improve the way in which existing services are delivered across many different sectors.” 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.

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

Cognisant of the potential of this technology to improve lives, she further cautioned delegates of the need to protect citizens’ possessions and their privacy. “As we embrace the concept of the Internet of Things, we have to be mindful of the potential societal impacts. Provisions must be made to protect citizens’ person, their intellectual, digital and physical possessions and their privacy,”

The Forum is 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.

The ITU’s Caribbean Representative, Mr. Cleveland Thomas, gave the rationale for the IoT forum as addressing the need to highlight its significance as a technological revolution.  He noted that IoT represents the future of computing and communications, and its development is dependent on dynamic technical innovation. He explained that “IoT involves the interlinking of networks, devices and data that have thus far never been linked. It is the collective power of these formerly disparate elements that lies at the heart of the power of IoT and integrated dynamic Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystems that can benefit both developed and developing economies.

Speaking during panel discussions, the Hon. Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Guyana urged regional governments to develop the Caribbean Single ICT Space. “When we consider the commitment of Caribbean governments to using and involving ICT to transform our economies, we definitely need to look at how we can build on the concept of IoT in the establishment of the Single ICT Space.”

She further lauded the regional effort, particularly by the CTU, for promoting the development of this Space. “The CTU’s ICT and Telecommunications Ministers are advocating the development of the Single ICT Space.”

Paying particular attention to her jurisdiction, she highlighted the potential of ICT to transform citizen’s lives. “ICT can have an important transformational role in Guyana. It has the potential to have an impact on the provision of improved medical services and extending them, through tele-medicine, to our hinterland and remote communities. Schools that do not have sufficient teachers in specialized areas will benefit from the distance learning opportunities enabled by ICT.”

The Forum  was attended by a wide  cross-section of delegates from Caribbean Governments regional and international ICT oganisations, regulators, network operators and innovators.