Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents FEBRUARY 1 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG5
Ahead of the week celebrating the 25th
anniversary of the Caribbean Telecom-
munications Union, Bernadette Lewis,
the organisation s general secretary, has
said the region is too focused on solu-
tions from outside.
In an interview with the Sunday BG, Lewis said providing
region specific solutions to ICT problems was one of the goals
of the CTU at the upcoming conference.
She said the organisation produced the world s first Internet
"The Global Internet Governance Forum is marking its ninth
year. Meanwhile, the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum
is celebrating its tenth."
Talking about the CTU s achievements, Lewis said that a
number of its initiatives have been replicated by other organ-
isations and it has achieved international recognition for its
work including the Caribbean ICT roadshow. The programme,
which was launched in 2009, gives young ICT innovators and
entrepreneurs vital support.
At the 25th anniversary forum, which is set to take place
from tomorrow until February 6, Lewis said defining a "single
ICT space" for the Caribbean would be high on the agenda.
The Single Information Communication Technology Space,
has been envisioned as the digital platform to accompany the
Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME)
"Nobody has defined it yet. So a number of the sessions
next week will be dedicated to coming up with definition and,
from there, to chart a road map for a Single ICT space."
With the recent oil price crisis faced by T&T and a travel
crunch in several tourism-based economies in the region,
Lewis said another key area of discussion for the conference
was how ICT could help solve development problems.
"The region is in crisis mode. The question is: how do we
leverage ICT to handle the challenges we face?"
Lewis was asked about the CW/Digicel matter and whether
it would be discussed at the conference. While she said the
issue of the acquistions would come up "tangentially", Lewis
said she would like to see regional government s protect their
"Market consolidating is a fact of business life. It is happening
in Europe. It is happening in the US. One of the things we
are concerned about is that consumers may be disadvantaged.
We would like to see something like a consumer charter, which
all of the operators in the market could subscribe to and sup-
She said governments had to play a role in protecting their
consumers as she said there is also a concern that once acqui-
sitions take place, there are, potentially, decreases in the quality
She said the region s governments need to find ways to fund
ICT projects on their own as there is too much reliance is
placed on donor funding.
She said some alternatives to this could be crowdfunding,
as well as a "sou sou" for regional governments to pool their
resources for ICT development. This was another topic she
expected to come up for discussion at the forum.
Regional leaders such as T&T s Prime Minister, Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar and Dr Keith Mitchell, the Grenadian Prime
Minister, are expected to attend, as well as Professor Tim
Unwin, secretary general of the Commonwealth Telecommu-
nications Organisation, and Brahima Sanou, director of the
International Telecommunications Union.
The theme for the ICT week is, Celebrating our past, Com-
mitting to our future, and the week s activities are actually
a culmination of the organisation s 25th year, which was cel-
ebrated last year in April 2014.
"Our 25th Anniversary ICT Week is a celebration of the
strategic partnerships the CTU has forged over the years, which
have been pivotal in enabling the CTU to fulfill its mandate.
We acknowledge their sterling contribution to the work of the
CTU and to making ICT Week possible," Lewis said in a press
release issued from the organisation earlier this week.
Speaking on these strategic alliances with the Sunday BG,
she said a number of initiatives that CTU has completed were
possible through these and said that the organisation s success
was in large part due to the fact that it was a multi-stakeholder
"Even though we are a Caricom institution, we have opened
our membership to the private sector and non Caricom organ-
isations," said Lewis.
The launch of the CTU s headquarters---which will be based
in Port-of-Spain---is also expected to take place during the
week of events.
CTU secretary general:
Region too focused
on outside solutions
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