Published On: Wed, Dec 4th, 2013

Greetings from the Secretary-General Caribbean Community Ambassador Irwin Larocque

Greetings from the Secretary-General Caribbean Community Ambassador Irwin Larocque on the occasion of the Joint Meeting of THE 27TH Executive Council, 16TH General Conference of Ministers, and the 12TH Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar OF THE CARIBBEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION

JAMAICA, 3 December 2013

LaroqueI would like to begin by thanking the CTU – under the leadership of Secretary-General Bernadette Lewis - for the invitation to bring greetings to this Opening Ceremony of the 12th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar, as part of the CTU “ICT Week”. I would have been pleased to be here in person with you, but this week I am engaged in the consultative process leading to the preparation of the Community Strategic Plan, which will be tabled at the upcoming Heads of Government Meeting. However, it is fitting that I am still able to be with you in some limited way by virtue of communications technology, the very topic which you will be discussing this week.

This is my first opportunity to address the CTU Conference of Ministers.  As it turns out, it is an appropriate time, as it is your first meeting since the Conference of Heads of Government designated the Caribbean Telecommunications Union an Institution of the Caribbean Community at their July meeting pursuant to Article 21 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

In bringing these greetings, I take the opportunity to highlight some ICT issues in the context of the theme for this week - “Engineering Beneficial Outcomes”.

All Governments of the Region have identified ICT as a key pillar and enabler for their country’s socio-economic transformation and development. Indeed, in the national consultations for the Community Strategic Plan, ICT has emerged as a priority area for the Region in every Member State.

ICT can be a powerful instrument for increasing productivity and generating economic growth by facilitating trade, transport and financing, thus creating jobs and improving the quality of life of all.  ICT is also instrumental in areas such as health, education and disaster management, all areas that are important to the well-being of the lives of our people.  So it would be terribly remiss of us if we do not daily, constantly seek ways in which to move ICT to the place of key enabler and catalyst for all we seek to accomplish as a Region and as a people.

As I have said elsewhere, ICT is the new frontier for regional integration. The Regional Digital Development Strategy carries this concept to its natural conclusion as it advocates for and seeks to develop a Single ICT Space. I urge you to give some thought in your deliberations to how to move it from concept to reality.

Given the importance of ICT for our regional development, CARICOM Heads of Government have decided that it will be one of the major issues that they will consider at their upcoming Intersessional meeting in February, another being human capacity development which is also linked to ICT.

I take this opportunity to remind all CARICOM Ministers with responsibility for ICT, that the Honourable Prime Minister of Grenada, CARICOM Lead Head of Government for ICT, has convened a Special Ministerial Meeting on January 14, which will seek to continue the conversation started here, as well as to prepare for the Heads discussion in February.

I am aware of the CTU’s effort to update and re-align its mandate and Constitution to fit and treat with the myriad, emerging issues related to ICT.  This process is in tandem with what is happening regionally as we undergo the processes necessary to re-engineer the Community and its attendant institutions, including the CARICOM Secretariat.

You, as Ministers with responsibility for ICT have the exciting task of ensuring that this Region realises its full ICT potential, thereby making the Caribbean Community a better place to live, a better place to communicate, a better place to do business.

In closing I extend my best wishes for a productive meeting with beneficial outcomes.  I also wish you and your families a happy, healthy, festive, holiday season.

Thank you.


Click Tag(s) for Related Articles: