Caribbean Telecoms Union is 30 … demonstrates the benefits of a Single Caribbean ICT Space

“Thirty years ago, CTU embarked on a bold journey that has helped to transform the Region. Much progress has been made, but more work remains to be done.” Deputy Secretary-General, ITU, Malcolm Johnson.

The DS-G of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set the tone last Monday for the week-long 30th Anniversary celebration of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) that has brought together Heads of Government, Telecommunications Ministers, representatives of private sector businesses, and ICT support organizations from across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The venue is the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

MOPT's Advisor on ICT, Lance Hinds, receives his award from CTU Secretary-General, Bernadette Lewis
MOPT’s Advisor on ICT, Lance Hinds, receives his award from CTU Secretary-General, Bernadette Lewis

The week of activities themed: “‘Digital transformation – Do it’, was headlined by a Heads of Government summit on Tuesday April 30, and a Ministerial Strategic ICT Plenary the following day. Guyana is being represented by Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, accompanied by Ministerial Advisor, Lance Hinds who has been awarded one of the seven (7) accolades the CTU presented on Wednesday to ICT developers and mentors in the region (Caribbean and Latin America). These awardees have already made significant contributions in their countries, helping to build the foundations for sound Internet Governance.

The highlight of the 30th Anniversary event was the CTU’s Caribbean FutureScape, an immersive, interactive, virtual ICT experience intended to demonstrate the speed, efficiency, transparency, resilience, facility and simplicity of life in a fully integrated, digital Caribbean. FutureScape also demonstrates the high quality of life that comes with living in the Caribbean’s Single ICT Space.

Utilizing a virtual model of 5 Caribbean countries, Caribbean FutureScape simulates a region in which citizens are able to move freely from one country to another with just digital identification. They could register a business, purchase goods, access medical records, participate in virtual classrooms, pay taxes or visit digital courtrooms in any country participating in the FutureScape programme.

Minister Hughes experiencing the amazing FutureScape
Minister Hughes experiencing the amazing FutureScape

“These technologies hold great potential for transforming our lives and delivering on the promise of the digital economy,” Minister Hughes stated, and identified one of the challenges as Governments and the private sectors working together to make sure that the Region’s 11 Million youths, ages 15 to 29, acquire the right technological skills at high levels to sustain the digital economies.

She also stated, “I am so proud of my ICT Advisor and head of our Industry and Innovation, Lance Hinds who was honoured for decades of service to the development of the region’s ICT landscape”.

The ITU’s Deputy S-G, Malcolm Johnson, in his opening presentation on Monday evening said, “We are most grateful for the very productive track record of ITU and CTU working together over the last 30 years, and look forward to it growing stronger, especially in helping achieve the Caribbean Single ICT Space, and the 21st Century Government initiatives”.

He said that 10 years ago, the ITU, the CTU and the European Commission launched the Harmonization of ICT Policies, Legislation and Regulatory Procedures (HIPCAR) Project which was among the region’s first efforts to help develop the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

This project (HIPCAR) had brought together Caribbean governments, regulators, service providers, civil society, the private sector, and regional and international organizations to pave the way for critical ICT investments across the region.

The CTU’s 30th Anniversary programme closes on Friday May 3 with across-the-board interactions on the best ways to boost Small and Medium scale private enterprises in the Caribbean with Information Communication Technologies.