Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynsley Benn learning more about Digicel’s products from Shakeira Headley (left) and Tamisha Mounter at the Digicel??booth. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

Government has taken the initiative to introduce legislation to support the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This was underscored by Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, while delivering the keynote address yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean ICT Roadshow Barbados at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He spoke specifically to pieces of legislation which have been enacted, including the "…the Electronic Transaction Act [which] brings a level of certainty to the electronic environment by legally ensuring that electronic transactions have equivalency to paper based transactions. Regulations will shortly be introduced to guide the enforcement of this legislation," he noted.

In addition, Senator Benn said there were other laws which aid in protecting users of ICTs, including the Computer Misuse Act, which seeks to prevent unauthorized access to computer networks and provides penalties for those who violate its provisions; and the Data Protection Act, which regulates the collection, processing and dissemination of personal data, and facilitates the protection of the privacy of individuals. The Commerce Minister also revealed that efforts were under way to have Barbados ratify the Convention on Cyber Crime.

The stressed that these endeavours, however, did not overshadow the need for efforts to continue beyond the public sector, observing that: "…whereas Government may be the champion or driver for the deployment of an efficient and enabling ICT environment, the pioneers, innovators and current practitioners in the development of the local ICT industry have a significant role to play.

"I am, therefore making a plea for our private sector ICT companies to embark on mentoring and provide incubation programmes for young students or fledgling youth businesses. Until we do these things, we may lose the opportunity of unearthing a young, brilliant Barbadian who has the capacity to develop software or hardware products, a new smart phone, reader, application or some technology that is capable of undertaking a particular function in half the time or at a far lesser cost than now obtains," he stressed.

The Caribbean ICT Roadshow Barbados, which began last Friday, ends this Thursday.


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