Caribbean Stakeholders Discuss Tech Innovation, Internet Governance

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao. - Local and international presenters from a range of backgrounds demonstrated the potential of ICT to impact e-Health, e-Learning, e-Commerce, cyber security, telecommunication, and youth. Organised by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the Caribbean ICT Roadshow is now into its third year, having visited 17 countries across the region. According to CTU Secretary General Bernadette Lewis, the programme is "designed to foster a spirit of innovation in the adoption of ICT-based practical solutions to development challenges".

The third day of the event was dedicated to the 9th Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), which brought stakeholders from Latin America and the Caribbean together to engage discuss and develop policies and structures for regional Internet governance. The CIGF is organised by the CTU at the request of the CARICOM Secretariat.

"Because of the Internet's phenomenal and rapid growth, a coordinated approach to regional Internet Governance has become a fundamental priority," Lewis said in her introductory remarks.

"We must take an active part in shaping its growth and development to ensure that our rights are respected and our security assured even as the Internet grows. We must do our part to ensure that the citizens of the Caribbean have affordable access to the Internet and are able to use it safely to solve real-world problems."

The CIGF facilitates the CTU's multi-stakeholder approach to the development of regional IG policy, drawing on the expertise and experiences of policy makers, regulators, service providers, content providers, consumer groups, academia, professionals, end users and other Internet interest groups in the region.

The diversity of the range of interests gathered under the CIGF umbrella was evident. In one panel discussion on the Internet Economy, Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with U.S.-based non-profit Packet Clearing House, led a panel discussion with Nico Scheper, Business Develoment Manager for the Amsterdam Internet Exchange in the Caribbean (AMS-IX Caribbean), Craig Nesty, Executive Director of Dominica's National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, and Kurleigh Prescod, Columbus Communications' Vice President of Network Services for the southern Caribbean.

"Many Caribbean Internet stakeholders are unaware of the work of the organisations that administrate the Internet and its resources. The CIGF highlights opportunities for Caribbean stakeholders to contribute collaboratively to the environment in which important decisions are made about critical Internet infrastructure," Wooding said.

Both the Roadshow and the CIGF were coordinated by the Curaçao Bureau of Telecommunications and Post, and sponsored in part by regional telecommunications company, Columbus International.