International Internet bodies work together at ICT Awareness Day in Guyana

Internet Week Guyana started on Monday with an agenda full of international speakers and a room buzzing with engaged participants. The opening day was a striking example of the power of collaboration among international Internet organizations in the region to bring impact meaningful impact at a local level.

Lance Hinds, ICT Advisor in the Guyana Ministry of Public Telecommunications, formally opened the five-day by underscoring its overall objectives. The meeting aims to increase nationwide awareness of how the Internet works, how it is governed, and why it is important for Caribbean voices to be more present in that governance process.

Hinds' opening remarks were followed by short addresses from representatives of each of the participating organisations, including Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU); Stephen Lee, Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG); Albert Daniels, Internet Corporation for Assiged Names and Numbers (ICANN); Shernon Osepa, Internet Society; and Kevon Swift, Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC).

Guyana Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, shared perspectives on the importance of technology and telecommunications in transforming Guyana’s social and economic outlook.

After lunch, participants dove right back into a closer look at the unique role played by each of the Internet organisations present. Osepa explained the importance of the ongoing work of the Internet Society in setting global standards, developing policy and building capacity. Daniels provided an overview of a number of different opportunities for everyone to become more involved as a stakeholder in the ICANN multistakeholder policy development process.

Swift explained the significance of the number resource work done the Regional Internet Registries, such as LACNIC. Lee presented an overview of the collaborative approach adopted by CaribNOG over the last ten years, in order to increase Caribbean capacity to build, maintain and secure regional networks.

And Wooding, speaking on behalf of CTU Secretary General Bernadette Lewis, offered insights into the wide range of development work covered by the CTU across the Caribbean region.

After break, Osepa returned to moderate a discussion on regional cybersecurity, with panelists Belisario Contreras, Manager of the Cybersecurity Program at the Organization of American States; Valmiki Singh, Head of Guyana’s National Frequency Management Unit; Muriana McPherson, Cybersecurity Manager, National Data Management Authority; and Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Manager, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). 

The day ended with an open mic session. Participants took the opportunity to ask panelists about a range of pertinent issues related to local, regional and international cybersecurity.

Hinds closed the day with a sneak peek of the agenda for Tuesday’s Internet Governance Day, coordinated by the Internet Society.

The event is being held at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana and is remote participation is available online via an official livestream.