The endorsement was made at a Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development held in Barbados on Wednesday, 21 September, 2016. The Hon. Guy Joseph, Minister of Economic Development, Housing, Urban renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia chaired the Meeting.
The Roadmap will now go for approval before Heads of Government at their intersessional Meeting in 2017. The Heads of Government had mandated the development of the Single ICT space by 2019 and had identified it as a key enabler for the formation of the CARICOM Digital economy.
The Single ICT Space will allow for harmonisation of the ICT and other legislative frameworks, the removal of roaming charges, the encouragement of digital entrepreneurship, equipping all citizens as Digital citizens and looking at ICT financial solutions among other regional benefits.
The Draft Roadmap for the Single ICT Space was the main agenda item of the one-day Meeting which was held to coincide with ICT Week co-hosted by the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). The CARICOM Secretariat and the CTU made presentations on the draft document.
Ministers also discussed issues on winding–up of the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN).
At the brief opening ceremony of the Meeting, Minister Joseph reminded his colleagues that technology was changing at a rapid rate and that the Region could not afford to be left behind. He urged them to unite for a “collective approach”. Minister Joseph also made an impassioned plea for Ministers to consider meeting more often and to stop “paying lip service” so that they could advance the work of ICT in the Region.
CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Development, Mr. Joseph Cox, in his remarks, welcomed the seven ICT Ministers who were attending their first COTED ICT Meeting. He reminded the delegates that since ICT was a part of every conversation, they needed to keep that conversation alive and relevant in CARICOM. He also encouraged the ministers to commit and invest more in ICT.
The next meeting of the COTED on ICT will be held in March 2017.
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