Barbados Must Keep Up With Advances In Technology

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Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss speaking at this morning’s half-day EMV Compliance Meeting at Marriott Courtyard. (A. Miller/BGIS)????

In an age of advanced technology, Barbados must be able to keep abreast of the numerous changes especially if the island is to earn its fair share of global commerce.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, made this assertion today as he addressed a half-day workshop on the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) Compliance Meeting at the Marriott Courtyard.

Mr. Inniss said: "We [Barbados] could not afford to be left behind…as the advances in technology was changing the way we do business in this global village…"

He told attendees that times had changed and gone were the days of writing and posting personal letters; using pay phones and even seeking Central Bank permission to obtain cash and travelers cheques to travel abroad.

"We have really transformed our communications system and the management of financial transactions.?? Of course as technological advances make it easier to commute around the world and to engage in commerce, there continues to be great risks of identity theft, fraud and other unscrupulous acts related to financial transactions." he stated.

The Minister pointed out that the workshop’s primary focus was on the EMV which had "emerged as a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards which is advantageous for authenticating credit and debit card transactions."

He added that EMV standards was today defining the interaction "at the physical, electrical, data and application levels between Integrated Circuit (IC) cards and IC card processing devises for financial transactions."

Stating that EMV related technology for chip and PIN or chip and signature cards was important, Mr. Inniss noted that he was also particularly interested in how advances in related technology could dramatically improve business facilitation in Barbados and "truly improve this economy".

He said: "The fact that so much information can be stored on a micro-chip and placed in one’s wallet may make the uninitiated person a bit concerned over security issues; however, for the enlightened it creates endless possibilities for ease in doing business and generating revenue or saving on expenditure."

The Commerce Minister then challenged Barbadians and the wider Caribbean region to be "bold and imaginative," while adding: "We are fortunate that in respect of changes in technology, the applications are usually tried and tested elsewhere.?? We just have to grab ahold of them in a timely fashion".

He further suggested that social security benefits could be uploaded to a smart card for ease of transactions. In addition he said, as Barbados seeks to reduce wastage, duplications and inefficiencies in the healthcare system, smart card technology that captured personal data would provide Barbadians with "another powerful tool that can better manage the delivery of services in our health system".

The Minister also maintained that interaction with key Government departments could be further enhanced and made easier with the application of modern technology.

"Few people actually like to go stand in line and pay their driver’s licence, pay their land tax bill or to do any transaction these days… I firmly believe that we have to work with a sense of urgency in this society to get towards a true e-government situation," he stressed.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or "chip cards") and IC card capable point of sale terminals and automated teller machines,?? for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

It is a joint effort between Europay, MasterCard and Visa to ensure security and global interoperability so that Visa and MasterCard cards can continue to be accepted everywhere.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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