Minister of Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn (third from left) is all smiles at the launch of Event Caribbean 2011 ICT: The Catalyst for Economic Development.?? Also present were (from right) James Corbin, President of the Information Society of Barbados (ISB, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Deputy PS in the Ministry of Commerce, Ernesta Drakes; Vice President of the ISB, Michael Forde; past president of the ISB, Alan Herbert; Director, ICT Sales, Illuminat, Anthony Yearwood; and??member of the ISB Conference planning team, Sam Brathwaite.??(C. Pitt/BGIS)

Enthusiasts and professionals of all things technological will be treated to a premier event this October, when the Information Society of Barbados (ISB) hosts its 3rd International Conference Event Caribbean 2011: ICTThe Catalyst for Economic Development.

The Conference, which was officially launched yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, was held five years ago, in 2006. During his address, Minister of Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn, said now was the time for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to be embraced.

"The event is very important because it comes at a time when the Government of Barbados is actively seeking to implement the national Information and Communication Technologies Strategic Plan 2010-2015… [which] is intended to serve as a roadmap for application and utilisation of ICT across the length of breadth of Barbados," he remarked.

Senator Benn alluded to the Draft Regional ICT Strategic Plan as an indicator that Barbados and its CARICOM neighbours were on the right path towards greater application of technology in the Caribbean.?? He added that ICT use would increase the reach of information and ability for communication to be conducted more efficiently.

"New and improved ICTs facilitate greater citizen cohesion and participation in the governance process…ICTs facilitate improvement in government to government, government to business and government to citizen interfaces," he explained.

Mr. Benn offered Singapore, Malta and Mauritius as examples of small islands which had achieved "significant gains" in modernising their economies through the use of ICTs.??

The Commerce Minister acknowledged the transformative powers ICTs represent for the economy and society, a sentiment which was shared by past president of the ISB, Alan Herbert.

"In the wake of Wikileaks, Hollywood’s portrayal of the social network, mobile devices for the first time becoming the dominant computing platform and overtaking the PC…I believe that we are at a crucial moment for our country, for CARICOM and the region as a whole," he said.

Social media will be one of the areas of emphasis during the two-day conference, along with use of ICT for innovation, open source computing, e-banking, cloud computing mobile applications -and e-government.??

ISB President, James Corbin, further noted that the 19-year-old, non-profit organisation, focused on continuing the education of persons working within the ICT sector, including specialists, technocrats and civil society.?? He also revealed that a series of activities will take place in the lead up to the conference on October 25th.

"We will launch an essay competition for students on the impact of information communication technology in Barbados in the year 2020…we also hope to launch two other competitions, one for the best project in the private sector and one for the best project in the public sector," Mr. Corbin explained.

The Conference will feature local, regional and international exhibitions, demonstrations, presentations, workshops, vendors, suppliers and keynote speakers. There will also be themed areas, such as commerce and business, education and training and technology today and tomorrow. The event will be open to a wide range of ICT persons, from software and hardware vendors to service providers, as well as the general public and secondary and tertiary level students.??

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