Grenada’s Prime Minister and Lead Head for Science and Technology in the Caricom Quasi-Cabinet, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell wants to see greater collaboration among regional countries in the area of technology.
Speaking at the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum, organised by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in Trinidad and Tobago this week, Dr Mitchell noted that insufficient progress has been made toward the creation of the Caricom Single ICT Space.
Dr Mitchell called for the elimination of silos to create a seamless digital space in the region. He said, “The elimination of silos results in greater efficiency and effectiveness in the use of scarce human and financial resources. In this technological age, there is absolutely no justification for replicating and duplicating efforts in each of our Caribbean islands and expending already scarce resources.”
As part of the week-long forum which came on the occasion of the CTU’s 30th anniversary, the regional organisation created a futuristic Single Market Space and Economy dubbed Caribbean FutureScape to showcase the possibilities of life in a digital Caribbean.
Dr Mitchell commended the CTU for its initiative and called for a greater commitment to the digital transformation in the Caribbean.
He said, “If we have identified critical development initiatives, then we must be prepared to prioritise the use of our limited resources and make the necessary sacrifices. We must be prepared to work together, to pool our limited human and financial resources to achieve our development objectives.”
Dr Mitchell sounded a warning that “We cannot continue to allow our failure to collaborate to result in stagnation and lost opportunities for advancement. We must take charge of our own development.”
He added that the concept of pooling resources is not new and therefore, “as most countries face immense pressures on national budgets, declining economic performance and rising public debt, we must optimise the use of financial and human resources through collaboration and pooling.”
The Prime Minister cited technology as a critical pillar in regional integration. “Technology, if appropriately used, provides us with the means to fulfill our integration aspirations. We can still achieve all the benefits of the Caricom Single ICT Space and the CSME but we must move with purpose and commitment. We must view investments in technology as the means by which we will improve the lives of Caribbean citizens. It is the vehicle that ensures that none of our people will be left behind.”
In his remarks at the CTU forum, Dr Mitchell also called for a recommitment to a number of core tasks as the region pursues the Caricom Single ICT Space and the Caricom Single Market and Economy. These tasks include focusing on the regional vision for digital transformation; committing to meaningful collaboration and cooperation regionally; championing the cause at the national level; identifying and prioritising the services to be pursued collectively; pledging initial finances to fund implementation at the national and regional levels; following the roadmap for the Caricom Single ICT Space and removing impediments to the implementation and harmonization of policies, legislation and regulations.
The CTU’s Caribbean Internet Governance Forum was held under the theme – Digital Transformation, Do It.
Office of the Prime Minister