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Mar 26, 2014

Annual Caribbean ICT Show gets on the road

Today, the annual Caribbean ICT Road Show touched down in Belize City, as part of its countrywide awareness tour. The tour is a collaborative initiative between the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Public Utilities and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. In a nutshell, the effort is aimed at educating stakeholders in every corner of the country, from students and businesses to government departments, of the absolute significance of Information Communications Technology. This morning stakeholders from Belize City packed a room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel for the one day road show touchdown. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The ICT revolution has gone on the road, and just as it has been well received as far away as Punta Gorda, this morning stakeholders were on hand and attentive. The purpose of the road show is to raise awareness, and according to C.E.O. from the Ministry of Public Utilities, Colin Young; that is essential in this day and technological age.


Colin Young

Colin Young, C.E.O., Ministry of Public Utilities

“ICT is the acronym for Information and Communication Technologies. And so essentially it is those most people would equate it with the internet…for example the whole digital revolution. So you are talking about any mobile technology, any broadband technology, any ecommerce tools; this is all what ICT is. And what we are here as part of this show, the third show in the public, is to educate the Belizean public—students, businesses, the private sector, the civil society organizations—of how you can utilize these tools to increase your productivity, to increase your sales, to increase your reach. And also at the national level, we are promoting this because there is a direct link between how available ICT is in a country and economic growth.”


There were presenters from across the Caribbean, and the discussions this morning were animated and interactive. Young says that in its third year, the road show is an unqualified success, and last year reached four thousand students across the country.


Colin Young

“These were schools that when we went there and said what is ICT, they had no idea. And so what we see is that because previous governments had not put ICT as a priority on their development agenda, then Belize is way behind the rest of the Caribbean in terms of our awareness of ICT, our awareness of the power that ICT has in terms of advancing our development. And that is why this government has recently approved almost half a million dollars to develop our national ICT policy and strategy that will essentially recommend the way that the country has to progress to take advantage of this. As well as to conduct our very first E-government policy and strategy and action plan.”


And that plan envisions that all services provided by government, from renewing you drivers’ licenses to applying for a birth certificate, should be accessible from out of your home via the internet. But is government quite ready for that?


Colin Young

“Right now in many ways the computer systems in each ministry is for that ministry; it is not linked across the whole public sector. And one of the things that this E-government platform would do is to create that interconnectivity and integration across the system. And then you can put in the right checks and balances to ensure that everything is transparent, we know who is seeing it, we know who accessed it, we know who print it, but more importantly we can use it to track our performance and our serve delivered to the public. The public is demanding that we serve them faster, we serve them more efficiently and we serve them in a way that protects their information. And so the security aspect of it is also a very important thing for us and all of this will be addressed in the government policy.”


The road show moves on to Corozal on Friday. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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