Published On: Wed, Mar 9th, 2016


dekker_0On April 27, 2007, the first major cyber conflict came down on Estonia . A similar attack on Georgia followed, on 7 August 2008, in Russia’s war over East-Ossetia. Ukraine and Crimea, both, experienced big cyber attacks in the winter and spring of 2014.

The culprit was most likely Russia. NATO reacted with the largest cyber war exercise in its history, in November of 2014.

“The answer of how to solve the security problem ( of such attacks) was never more, better technology. It was collaboration, “ concluded Linnar Viiki, a lecturer at the Estonian IT-College and senior government adviser of Estonia.

If back-ups of all data, essential to the functioning systems of countries, are stored elsewhere, in data-embassies of friendly countries and jurisdictions with strict privacy laws, any state, or major company can easily survive mega, hostile cyber attacks.

Storing such data on small Caribbean islands is, and will be, as lucrative as the offshore Trust financial services of the 1960-90.

Ministers of Economic Affairs and Education of Caribbean islands can improve welfare and well-being, and create tremendous wealth for their people by insisting on compulsory Coding Education in grade 6-12. A well-trained IT-workforce could easily service rapidly growing world demand from any remote Caribbean destination with attractive jurisdictions and privacy laws.

As little as four years of school training is required to build up such workforce. Tiny investment is needed, since most courses can be obtained online from major IT companies around the world.

So far, educators have systematically refused to participate in any such elaborate education schemes, displaying gross ignorance of market developments and IT-subjects. Not the students but their leaders, ministers, members of parliament, teachers and unions, are to blame.

Anti-intellectualism, stemming from an age of misguided romantic socialism, still rules in many layers of the society. Student participation in vigorous baseball training enjoys a far greater support than any participation in IT-education. Parading in Gran Marcha at Carnival, almost at any cost, receives far higher priority and support in Caribbean communities.

If political leaders show themselves to be ignorant and silly to the opportunities, how can anybody expect a better future for the children of the islands? Yes, also the next generation will move away to far-away countries to improve their lives and futures.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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