Minister responsible for Telecommunications in Barbados, Senator Darcy Boyce, has stressed the importance of collaboration between Caribbean countries if the regional vision of a single ICT (Information and Communications Technology) space is to be achieved.
Senator Boyce, who is also president of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), was speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2016 ICT Week, taking place at the Crane Resort under the auspices of the CTU.
He said a key objective of the meeting was to get approval of the roadmap prepared for the implementation of the single ICT space in CARICOM.
Another important objective, he outlined, would be the establishment of a governmental team to work with the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organisations (CANTO) on several issues of concern to both the telecommunication companies and regional governments.
He stated: “We will find that operationalising these objectives and bringing the required results for each of our countries in the Caribbean that we expect as a result of these decisions, will require a very close collaboration between the governments of this region.”
Noting that each of the countries was small in international terms, and faced resource constraints that would prevent them on their own from achieving the results they wanted from ICT, Senator Boyce stressed that: “Together, however, through close collaboration, we are and can be even better positioned to implement the policies and practices that will lead to the desired outcomes.”
The vision, he explained, was to have a regional society based on and powered by knowledge, which would make provision for everyone to participate in and benefit from its sustainable development.
“We want to use ICT and other appropriate technologies to leverage and deepen the region’s resources, through high-speed ICT networks, trained human resources and enhanced processes in order to add social and economic value,” he revealed.
The CTU president maintained that almost every service sector in Caribbean economies could become better through the use of ICTs. He listed areas such as tourism, education, trade and commerce, health services, public transport, immigration, energy, water and waste management and e-government.
Senator Boyce argued that while Caribbean countries were making progress in several of these areas, every country could achieve more, less expensively and faster, if “we shared knowledge of what we are doing, did more coordination of activities and shared best practices and procurement activities”.
“So then, let us through the mechanism of the CTU and CARICOM, significantly improve the conversations and thus coordination and cooperation between ourselves on what we are doing, and what we plan to do in the area of ICT, so that our countries all benefit from a faster, greater and more efficiently achieved impact from those technologies,” he said.