ICTs Crucial for Development

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Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn (second from left) cutting the ribbon at the Techno Village in Independence Square, the first event of??the Caribbean ICT Roadshow Barbados.?? Also present were Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Bernadette Lewis (left, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Deputy Chief of the Government??Information Service (Ag),??Sharon Lynch: and Lord High Admiral of the Barbados Landship, Vernon Watson. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

Technology was the ???talk of the town’ earlier today, when the Caribbean ICT Roadshow hosted its Techno Village in Independence Square.

The event was one of many slated for the Roadshow, which aims to highlight the importance of Harnessing the Power of Innovation: the Engine for ICT-Enabled Caribbean Development.

During his feature address, Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, stressed that technology should be seen as an invaluable tool which could assist individuals and businesses in achieving their goals.

The Commerce Minister noted: "We all can see how the application of ICTs can easily facilitate businesses which are interested in developing new products and services, as well as new managerial systems. Some recent examples that readily come to mind are online-banking, electronic data interchange and online tax filing.

"The Government of Barbados has also recognised the value of ICTs and it has sought to put strategies in place to address local ICT development. This has been demonstrated by the rolling out of the Barbados National ICT Strategic Plan 2010-2015 most aptly entitled: An Efficient Networked Island," the Commerce Minister said.

In emphasising the strategic objectives of the plan, which will serve as a roadmap for the application and utilisation of ICTs, Minister Benn noted that it would be used "to provide an effective legal and regulatory framework to facilitate and encourage the development and use of ICTs…to encourage the business community, especially SMEs, to utilise ICTs for improving competitiveness and productivity at all levels; [and] to promote and facilitate the establishment of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within Barbadian society."

The Commerce Minister also mentioned other endeavours of note, which were being used to promote ICTs.?? These included the Modernisation of the National

Standards Project, which will harmonise the national standards system to improve competitiveness and enhance consumer protection; and the provision of small and medium sized funding for technology ventures, including the ezLearner project for the development of web-based applications for composition, writing, reading, comprehension and mathematics.

The Techno Village featured both public and private sector technology exhibitors, including National Innovation Award Winner, Shannon Clarke, who offered demonstrations of his Clever Grocer software, which is currently under development.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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