Prime Minister and Minister for ICT, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell is keen to see revolutionary change take place with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in government.
Addressing a half-day ICT consultation last Thursday, Dr Mitchell said the leveraging of ICT across the public services is absolutely critical to improving the efficiency of government operations and providing better service to the public.
“We have a responsibility to the generations to come. We need to prepare the platform for the future success of the country; future generations have to remember us as being revolutionaries in that sense,” the Prime Minister said.
He added, “Whatever we do must be seen in the context of optimizing the resources of the country. We cannot afford to remain stuck in the same way of doing things, we must evolve, and we must innovate. The future of the country is at stake.”
Noting that Grenada was the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to introduce the digital telecommunications system, Dr Mitchell said although much progress has been made in the area of ICT, there is still a long way to go.
The consultation brought together IT professionals from across government as well as statutory boards to undertake a comprehensive review of ICT projects and make recommendations for the way forward.
Dr Mitchell described it as “an exciting day, a day to recommit ourselves to the success of our country. We must look at the big picture, not individual ministries and we must develop an integrated IT system that connects the entire public service and is also connected to statutory bodies. This is a revolutionary meeting, we cannot fail our people.”
The Prime Minister also wants to see financial institutions in Grenada play a greater role in creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship in ICT. Dr Mitchell said lending policies must adapt to the new age and facilitate easier access to capital for budding entrepreneurs, particularly in ICT, who can create employment opportunities for themselves and others, leading an overall positive impact on the local economy.
ICT development is one of the key items included in the manifesto of the current administration, with the sector being viewed as a major stimulant for improved productivity and competitiveness. One of the plans identified for the sector is the review and update of the ICT policy to ensure that it creates the right enabling environment for the formation of cottage industries influenced by digital transformation.
Dr Mitchell’s advocacy for leveraging ICT extends beyond Grenada. As the Lead Head of government on Science and Technology in the Caricom Quasi Cabinet, Dr Mitchell also advocates for the wider incorporation of ICT into the overall development of the region.
Most recently at the Caricom Heads of government Meeting in Jamaica, Dr Mitchell stated that “ICT must not be viewed as merely peripheral to the ideals we want to accomplish, or something to be “added” to the education curriculum. Technology impacts every aspect of our lives.” Dr Mitchell noted therefore that ICT must be placed at the heart of what we want to accomplish.