Prime Minister Reiterates Call For Regional Collaboration On ICT

PR Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has reiterated the need for Caribbean Governments to work collaboratively on matters relating  to ICT, including the CARICOM Single ICT Space. 

Addressing the 23rd General Conference of the Ministers of the Caribbean  Telecommunications Union (CTU), Dr. Mitchell said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has  amplified the need for regional Governments, corporations and institutions such as  CARICOM and CTU to collaborate, shape and operationalise a common regional digital  future. It can no longer be business as usual.” 

Dr. Mitchell, who is Lead Head for Science and Technology, including ICT in the  CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, said it is through united purpose and actions that the region  will achieve its greatest results. He lamented the lack of progress towards the CARICOM  Single ICT Space.  

Dr. Mitchell stated, “It is regrettable, that despite the efforts of the CTU and other entities  thus far, the region is still a long way from achieving this Single ICT Space, due in part to  the fact that the requisite human and financial resources for this important initiative, have  not been allocated. It is now over three years since the Heads of Government approved  a Vision and Roadmap for the CARICOM Single ICT Space, but progress has been  painfully slow.” 

The Prime Minister reiterated his opinion that the silo approach to ICT matters must  change as the region moves towards the provision of integrated public services online. He said, “Many countries continue to advance their national digital agendas but if the  region does not cooperate and rally behind the CARICOM Single ICT Space, we may  simply be replicating efforts and wasting limited resources.” 

Dr. Mitchell added, “If the region is to emerge from this pandemic stronger, it is clear that  the digital economy must play an increasingly significant role as a driver of economic  growth and social transformation. The consensus is that COVID-19 has placed pressure  on the region to accelerate the implementation of the CARICOM Single ICT Space and  other technological initiatives.”

The Grenadian leader signaled his intention to present to fellow CARICOM leaders at  their next meeting, a report prepared by the CTU which details recommendations for kick starting the implementation of the CARICOM Single ICT Space. 

Dr. Mitchell also suggested that the region position itself for a technological renaissance.  He said, “While the spread of COVID-19 continues to have a major negative impact on  the global economy, it is clear that the digital economy is showing no signs of slowing  down. The pandemic has created an unprecedented and insatiable demand for  technological solutions. The Caribbean must position itself to be on the cutting edge of  technology and it is organisations such as the CTU that will lead this regional  technological renaissance.” 

The CTU meeting, held virtually, was attended by ICT and Telecommunications Ministers  from the organisation’s member states, officials from the CTU secretariat, as well as  representatives from telecommunications companies.