The Caribbean region has produced many outstanding citizens and can boast of solving complex problems, yet there remains a reluctance to fully embrace information and communications technology (ICT).
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley expressed this view today while addressing the inaugural Pivot Event organised by the Inter-American Development Bank and its partners.
The Prime Minister contended that the Caribbean is a good place to live but without the safety net afforded to other countries, the region has been hesitant to strive to be the best or the first.
“Our governments, financial institutions, schools, churches and agencies have been regrettably too hostile to risk and resistant to new actions and new ideas.”
She continued: “I ask you why? After all, this is the region that produced George Headley, C.L.R James, Errol Barrow, [Jamaica] Kincaid, Eric Williams, Robert Nesta Marley, Sir Arthur Lewis, Brian Lara, Derek Walcott, [V.S.] Naipaul…Viv Richards, Shirley Chisolm, Usain Bolt, the Rt. Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers our own Robyn Rihanna Fenty and I can go on. We are a region that has already solved some of the most difficult of some of the so-called developed world’s problems.”
Ms. Mottley said the region was a place of critical creative thinkers who were revolutionary in their own right and challenged citizens to “put their own flair and perspective on the digital revolution”.
“The future of the world and by extension the Caribbean, is largely in technology. True prosperity and transformation will not come in technologies until we have the confidence to develop technologies on our own time that play to our strength and which capture the imagination of our own people.
“We must become a developer of ideas and technologies that allows us to overcome everyday disadvantages of being a small island developing state…,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown regional governments that it was time to develop and implement disruptive and forward thinking programmes, concepts, policies and platforms to fast track the development of a Caribbean technology economy.
“The duty is ours to pivot…we need to think big and work together and it is only then that we would have the scale and the capacity to transform what I believe is that special place on earth – The Caribbean,” Ms. Mottley underlined.
Pivot is a virtual five-day gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs across the region.