Government Striving For Efficiency Though ICT

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Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Telecommunications, Investment and Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, in discussion with Glenda Medford of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day workshop today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government will continue over the next few years to improve its role as a model user of information communication technology (ICTs).

This was underscored by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Telecommunications, Investment and Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce. He was delivering the feature address at the opening of the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day workshop today. It was organised by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the theme: "Better City, Better Life with ICTs – Leveraging ICTs for Business and National Development and was held at the Hilton Hotel.

Senator Boyce indicated that government was working to provide the type of environment to make doing business in the public and private sectors a lot easier and more cost effective.

He said the relevant ministries, were continuing work to establish the Data Protection Act, "which will seek, inter alia, to regulate the collection of … personal data and to protect the privacy of individuals. Our role is part of a strategy that includes enabling policy and a regulatory environment that promotes the advantages of ICTs in a rapidly converging environment, e-government, e-commerce, and the availability of low-cost broadbands."

The Minister of State pointed out that a "strong legislative framework is designed to support ICT development and, particularly, the use of electronic commerce." To this end, he outlined, "the enactment of the Electronics Transactions Act, which would, inter alia, establish legal improvements between electronic and paper based documents [and] the Computer Misuse Act, to curb the abuse or misuse of computer systems."

He disclosed that The Freedom of Information Act, was also important, since it would provide guidelines for the dissemination of information in the public sector, thereby, contributing to good governance. The Minister of State also announced that the Telecommunications Act would continue to be revised "in order to fully facilitate the realities of the development of ICTs in our rapidly converging environment".

He mentioned that consumers would also benefit as a result of the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act which would ensure that persons were afforded basic consumer rights when they are conducting business through distance channels, or face- to-face interaction.

Furthermore, the Minister underscored the importance of e-commerce and called upon the Chamber of Commerce to get its members to continuously review and examine their systems and their attitudes to the use of ICTs and to make them more effective.

"In a world that is increasingly linked to the internet we have no choice but to use more e-commerce. Our banks must make that more and more possible. Banks are members of the Chamber of Commerce, and [the Chamber] must insist continuously that our banks make e-commerce more possible in our country," Senator Boyce stressed.

The workshop was convened as part of activities to mark World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, which was celebrated on May 17.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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