At Monday’s opening ceremony of a two workshop on Technology and Innovation, Junior McIntyre, CARCIP Project Coordinator for the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, encouraged local entrepreneurs to utilise cutting edge technology to develop products that will meet international standards.
The workshop is taking place at the Radisson Convention Centre on 24–25 March, as part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).
“The underlying philosophy of the CTU’s ongoing regional workshop series, is that the very same conditions that present severe challenges for Grenada and other Caribbean islands, are also creating unique opportunities for the region,” said Mc Intyre, as he delivered welcome remarks. “The job of Caribbean innovators, is to look past the challenges and discern the opportunities.”
Lead facilitator for the CTU-CARCIP workshop, Bevil Wooding, underscored that reality. “The survival of the region’s economies depends on our ability leverage modern technology to produce, compete and excel in the global environment.” Wooding is an Internet Strategist with the US-based non-profit, Packet Clearing House.
Gregory Bowen, Minister for Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT and Community Development, described the workshop as an opportunity to deepen the Government’s ongoing thrust to improve quality of life and create jobs in the local economy by developing the country’s ICT sector. Bowen said, “Ultimately, the investment being made by the Government of Grenada is not just in the upgrade of the physical equipment but in the improvement of the quality of the lives of our citizens. Our goal is to ensure that all of our people in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique benefit from the development of ICT infrastructure.”
In March, a historic ICT Bridge connecting Grenada’s sister isles Carriacou and Petite Martinique to the global Internet, was formally launched at the Resource Centre in Hillsborough.
Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, echoed Minister Bowen’s emphasis on the dynamic link between infrastructure development to human development. “Through CARCIP, we are aiming to advance the development of an ICT-enabled services industry in the Caribbean region by increasing access to regional broadband networks.”
Launched in June 2013, CARCIP aims to improve the efficiency of regional telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider Caribbean. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, the project was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU. The Grenada workshop is the third in the CTU’s ongoing series bringing together local professionals in the field of telecommunications, and regional experts in information and communication technology, entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.
Among the workshop presenters are Dr Farid Youssef, an expert in neuroscience based in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine; Norman Gibson, an expert in rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region; Eric Nurse, ICT Director for the Government of Grenada; Glenda Joseph-Dennis, an independent Business Development Consultant specialising in leadership and organisational development; and Joseph Gill, the software developer and entrepreneur behind mobile technology startup TopItUp.tv