JIS News

The Central Information Technology Office (CITO) will host its third annual regional summit next month under the theme: ‘Utilising Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Disaster Preparedness and Management’.
The regional summit, which will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel from May 9 to May 11, is targeting decision makers in the public and private sectors, and in response to the increasing occurrence of natural disasters.
Speaking recently with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of CITO, Michael duQuesnay, pointed out that given the critical role of ICT in the operation of contemporary businesses, this year’s summit would address the need to be proactive, in the event of a natural disaster.
For example, Mr. duQuesnay said, “we feel that in manufacturing and distribution, you are really part of a global supply chain and that chain runs in technology, so when something unexpected occurs that supply chain becomes potentially disrupted,” he said.
“If it stays disrupted,” he continued, “in terms of [affecting] your business for long enough, you might not have a business left at the end of it, so a part of the whole theme we will be talking about is the extent to which ICT has become such an important and integral part of business, and you need to consider that in any of your plans as it relates to being prepared for a disaster and being able to recover.”
He noted that several categories of workers within the private and public sectors were being invited to participate in the three-day summit. Among them are Chief Executive Officers, senior-level managers, as well as ICT managers and network administrators.
Three separate sessions are planned for each day of the summit, with the inaugural session being an invitation-only breakfast for Chief Executive Officers. Minister of Industry, Science, Commerce and Technology, Phillip Paulwell will deliver the main address, while Chairman of the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) Dennis Lalor, will speak on the matter of insurance and the endemic risks faced in the region in terms of exposure and associated cost.
Additionally, Brent Woodworth, who was part of the international response team from International Business Management (IBM), which visited South Asia after the tsunami in 2004, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina last year, will address the issue of integrating ICT and business. Meanwhile, Keith Greens, an internationally renowned expert, will speak on the matter of formulating disaster plans for companies.
The second day of the summit, to be called ‘CITO Day’, is targeted at the management level of organizations. “We will be looking at what is happening in the world in terms of the growing rate and range of disasters, and we will have Dr. Barbara Carby (Director General) of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), as the keynote speaker. She will be taking us through a hurricane as one of the common disasters we face here and looking at three different areas that we need to work on,” Mr. duQuesnay informed.
The areas that will be examined include advanced preparation for a disaster, event management, and rebuilding and recovering from the event.
As for the final day of the summit, Mr. duQuesnay said, it is designed for IT managers, network administrators, project managers, and technical resource personnel. “It will look at the different components of technology infrastructure and the need to deal with those aspects in the long haul communication,” he told JIS News.