Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce (centre) listens to a point from Chief Telecommunications Officer of Barbados,??Reginald Bourne (left), while Anguilla’s Minister of Infrastructure, Evan Gumbs, looks on. They were attending today’s Opening Ceremony of the 14th General Conference of Ministers and the 24th Executive Council Meetings of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the Government of Barbados, held at the Crane Beach Resort.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are beginning to drive a great deal of development in the Caribbean and the rest of the world.

So says Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 14th General Conference of Ministers of Telecommunications at the Crane Beach Resort, St. Philip. It is being held from December 6 to 8 under the theme From Dialogue to Delivery.

Speaking about ICTs, Senator Boyce pointed out that this new technology presented tremendous potential and benefits. He mentioned that there was a lot of work being done by member states of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) with regard to passing legislation to combat cyber crime and the interception of communications and how to process evidence surrounding electronic transactions.

Concerning the impact of ICTs on every day life, he gave the example of young children now relying almost exclusively on technology to communicate and almost abandoning the use of the traditional pen and paper.

"The issue is that our youngsters are now fully into the information and communication technologies?? and that requires us to have a new definition of what is the basic telecoms service package that ought to be available to our people and what kind of affordability should be placed on that," he noted.

Against this background, he hoped that over the next few months countries in the region could work together to make sure "that the transition from analogue to digital television was done properly and in a way that enabled the preservation of the socio-economic?? value of television.

"[I hope it] is done in a way that helps us to increase the dividends that come from that move from analogue to digital. That we are able to develop through that process some more content?? to help us recognise the value, the uniqueness of our cultural products?? and our educational products in this region.

"We cannot do those things unless we make sure that together we all manage the spectrum that we have available to us in the region. So as to make sure that matters of interference and matters of allocation are properly dealt with," he noted.

Senator Boyce also expressed the hope that adequate funding would be secured for the administration of the CTU and agreements observed and met to ensure that it took its rightful place in the region.

Participants at the conference were drawn from Anguilla, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.


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