Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2014 Contents MARCH 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG11
The Caribbean faces a number of
complex, deep-rooted and inter-
related challenges. Human
resource development, economic
growth, sustainable development
and climate change all featured prominently
on the agenda for the recently held 25th inter-
sessional meeting of the conference of heads
of government of the Caribbean Community
A recurring theme in the quest to find solu-
tions to these challenges is the role of infor-
mation and communications technology (ICT).
Its prominence on the agenda was far from
accidental. Caricom Secretary General Ambas-
sador Irwin LaRocque described ICT as "the
new frontier for regional integration."
"The creation of a Single ICT Space within
our community should be pursued vigorously
in our efforts to bring technology to the peo-
ple," said LaRocque.
The regional body plans to focus over the
next two years on developing a Single ICT
Space as the digital layer of the Caricom Single
Market and Economy.
But history has proven that it will take more
that speeches and press releases to bring this
to pass. It has been almost a quarter-century
between Caricom s 25th intersessional and its
tenth meeting of heads of government in
1989, when the notion of a common telecom-
munications space was first introduced.
Bevil Wooding, an international technology
expert and one of the leading ICT voices in
the Caribbean, believes the time is right, but
rhetoric must be matched by investment in
"The intention (to create a single space),
though noble, is long overdue. Twenty-five
years later, that dream is yet to be fully realised.
If the timespan is an indication of the pace
with which current declaration will be pursued
by the regional body, then a catalyst must be
found," Wooding said.
"The survival of the region s economies
depends on its ability leverage modern tech-
nology to produce, compete and excel in the
global environment," he added.
The work of implementing ICT develop-
ment policy objectives falls largely on the
Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU),
which plays a significant role in co-ordinating
the region s response to technology-related
challenges. In fact, the CTU was also estab-
lished 25 years ago--the same year that the
World Wide Web was invented.
"The work of advancing the technology
development agenda of the Caribbean region
cannot be done in isolation, nor can it be
done by public sector agencies alone," cau-
tioned Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of
"The implementation of the Caribbean ICT
development strategy is the collective respon-
sibility of governments, the private sector,
civil society and other organisations. The work
must take place in concert with the major
decisions being made on the international
"The Caribbean must participate at this
level because decisions are being made regard-
ing the evolution of the global Internet which
have serious implications for our ability to
effectively leverage ICTs for development,"
Through extensive regional public education
activities, such as its Caribbean ICT Roadshow,
Caribbean Internet Governance Forum, and
Strategic Ministerial Seminar series, the CTU
has already established a track record of cre-
ating awareness across various sectors of
Caribbean society of the importance of Inter-
net Governance to the region.
"Making Caribbean leaders more aware of
their role evolving Internet governance in the
region and at a global level is a major priority,"
SSIG comes to Trinidad
The CTU s new memorandum of under-
standing with the ICT Training Centre for
Latin America and the Caribbean (CCAT-
LAT) lends even more strength to that cause.
The new MoU clears the ways for the CTU
to introduce a five-day intensive training pro-
gramme to the Caribbean that aims to improve
the quality of regional representation at inter-
The South School on Internet Governance,
or SSIG, is a programme to prepare Caribbean
and Latin American participants to actively
participate in international meetings that
determine the future of the Internet. The aim
is to increase the level and quality of repre-
sentation of Latin American and Caribbean
countries at regional and international Internet
The T&T Government, through the Min-
istry of Science and Technology, will be hosting
the sixth edition of the SSIG. The event will
take place in Hilton Trinidad Hotel and Con-
ference Centre, St Ann s, from April 28 to
May 2. It will be the first time in its history
that the SSIG will be held in the Caribbean.
"The CTU fully supports of the convening
of the South School on Internet Governance
in the region, as that venue gives Caribbean
stakeholders greater access to benefit from
the programme," Lewis said.
With more than half of the registered par-
ticipants from the region, the programme
prepare participants to engage in the formu-
lation of national, regional and international
Internet policy, addressing with a special focus
on Caribbean issues. Participants will hear
from local, regional and international experts
in a range of technology-related areas.
"The Internet is a global resource, and gov-
erning it requires a multi-stakeholder
approach. That s why SSIG participants are
given an understanding of the global Internet
ecosystem and its evolution," said Dr Olga
Cavalli, director of the SSIG.
Cavalli, a lecturer in networking, telecom-
munications and informatics at the University
of Buenos Aires, is Argentina representative
for ICANN and a member of advisory com-
mittee to the United Nations Secretary General
for the global Internet Governance Forum.
Director of institutional relations at SSIG
is Adrian Carballo, a former co-ordinator of
the ICT Financing Group in the Strategy for
the Information Society in Latin America and
the Caribbean (e-LAC), coordinated by the
Economic Commission for Latin America and
the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations.
"The principal objective is to create a new
kind of leader, one who is better equipped to
represent the needs of the region," Carballo
SSIG 2014 participants, drawn from the
public and private sectors, civil society as well
as academia, will have the opportunity to
network with members of organisations such
as the Latin America and Caribbean Network
Information Centre (LACNIC), the Internet
Society (ISOC) and the Internet Corporation
for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),
which help to shape the future of the Inter-
Since its inauguration in 2009 in Argentina,
the location of the SSIG has been rotated
annually to Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Bogota
and Panama City. Emily Fitzpatrick, business
development and research officer at CTU,
completed SSIG 2012 in Bogotá, Colombia.
Initiatives like the SSIG can play an important
role in fostering healthy dialogue about Internet
governance in the Caribbean, she said.
"SSIG is a diverse and safe forum where
people with varying levels of expertise, knowl-
edge and capacity can have meaningful dia-
logue. The real beauty of SSIG is the ability
to sit in small groups with colleagues converse
and reflect on the flow of information coming
from the presenters. The cross-pollination
that takes place in that forum is healthy and
needed in the region."
Selected SSIG sessions will be livestreamed
online and open to remote participation in
Spanish and English.
Full course details are available on the
official SSIG Web site, www.gobernanzain-
ternet.org and on the CTU's official Web
Dr Olga Cavalli, left,
Latin America director,
South School on Internet
Union (CTU); Adrian
relations director, SSIG;
and research officer,
CTU; and Rodney Taylor,
and operations manager,
CTU, at the CTU
Street, St Clair.
PHOTO: GERARD BEST
Governing the regional Internet
CTU brings international Internet Governance school to the Caribbean
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