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  • The Government is moving forward with the full implementation of the e-government programme.
  • The Government has been deliberate in designing a plan that particularly suits the Jamaican situation.
  • A National ICT Advisory Council is also to be put in place, which will contribute to the government’s overall vision for its use of ICT.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is moving forward with the full implementation of the e-government programme, aimed at harmonizing the adoption and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in public sector service delivery.

He acknowledged that while the process has been taking some time, the Government has been deliberate in designing a plan that particularly suits the Jamaican situation.

“Our vision is for the Government of Jamaica to be the exemplary user of ICT within the country,” Minister Paulwell stated in his address at the opening of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on December 3.

He informed that as part of that effort, “very shortly” a Chief Information Officer will be recruited for the entire Government.

“That person will be responsible for all Government ICT services with a view to harmonization and efficiency,” he stated.

Minister Paulwell said that a National ICT Advisory Council is also to be put in place, which will contribute to the government’s overall vision for its use of ICT.

He advised that the council will be made up of a wide cross-section of ICT stakeholders nationally, with one seat reserved for the Caribbean virtual community, which is a region wide network of ICT stakeholders.

Minister Paulwell, who is also the President of the CTU, argued that governments across the Caribbean have been incorporating ICTs in service delivery, but many, including Jamaica, have faced the issue of uneven adoption of technology across ministries, departments and agencies.

He said that while the Government recognises the need to extend ICT access to its people, it also has a responsibility to lead in the adoption and use of technology.

“ICT has the power to make government more transparent, efficient and effective, to improve the participation and awareness of our citizenry and to ultimately strengthen our democracy,” he argued.

Turning to another matter, Minister Paulwell informed that negotiations are ongoing with all telecommunications carriers, with the hope that they will remove all roaming charges.

He said that effective and affordable inter-regional communication is essential to Caribbean unity, and roaming charges on both voice and data, represents a barrier to that unity.

The CTU seminar, which concludes on Thursday, December 5, is being held under the theme: ‘Engineering Beneficial Outcomes’.

Secretary General of the CTU, Bernadette Lewis, in her remarks at the opening ceremony said that the seminar is being held in what could be regarded at ICT week in Jamaica.

Also taking place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre this week are: the 27th meeting of the Executive Council of the CTU; the 16th General Conference of Caribbean Ministers; a regulators consultation on Caribbean ICT competitiveness; a workshop on ICTs for empowering people with disabilities; launch of the Harmonized Caribbean Spectrum Planning and Management project; a Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization Ministerial consultation on Cyber Governance; and a CTU Partnership meeting, where the relevant ministers will be meeting with private sector organisations.