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Caribbean Telecom Union Launches Workshops to Increase Technology Innovation

Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Bernadette Lewis (right)

Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Bernadette Lewis (right)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — “One of the greatest challenges facing the Caribbean is getting people to believe in the value of ideas,” said Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).

Lewis was speaking at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines leg of a series of workshops to encourage greater technology-enabled innovation in the Caribbean.

“Unless we can change mindsets, the returns on ICT ( Information and Communication Technology) will be small,” she said.

The workshop series is part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Program, which is coordinated by the CTU.

The thrust by CTU to accelerate Caribbean entrepreneurship through technology-driven innovation builds on the work of their Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which encourages Caribbean citizens to harness the power of innovation as the engine for ICT-enabled development. The Caribbean ICT Roadshow has been held 21 times in 18 Caribbean countries.

Moderated by local CARCIP coordinator Roxanne John and regional coordinator Junior McIntyre, the two-day workshop in St. Vincent brought together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in  ICT, entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.

The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, host for the event, was represented by Camillo Gonsalves, minister of foreign affairs, trade, commerce and information technology.

“The ICT revolution in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is happening now,” said the minister. “In the current environment of rapid technological development and opportunity, our private and public sector shortcomings can be met, solved and eradicated quickly by the innovative application of ICT to our unique Caribbean particularity.”

Gonsalves explained that the CARCIP workshop was part of an ongoing thrust by his ministry to develop the country’s ICT sector through updating its laws, establishing knowledge parks, setting up an e-government system and continuing to liberalize its telecommunications sector.

“The true measure of the usefulness of government’s large investments in these programs will not be in our improved rankings in various development indices, but in tangible benefits to Vincentians,” he said.

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