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    • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for eGov Jamaica Limited, Maurice Barnes, says, come next year, the agency will transition to a new entity to be named the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority.
    • He advised that in its new role, the agency will have primary responsibility for the country’s overall ICT governance framework.
    • “The establishment of this Authority will… give it the sort of legislative power to ensure that certain standards are in place and that policies are adhered to across the government, which is a major step towards digital transformation,” he further said.

    Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for eGov Jamaica Limited, Maurice Barnes, says, come next year, the agency will transition to a new entity to be named the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority.

    He advised that in its new role, the agency will have primary responsibility for the country’s overall ICT governance framework.

    “The establishment of this Authority will… give it the sort of legislative power to ensure that certain standards are in place and that policies are adhered to across the government, which is a major step towards digital transformation,” he further said.

    Currently, eGov Jamaica Limited is responsible for implementing ICT projects across Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

    Mr. Barnes was speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank forum at the Agency’s head office in Kingston.

    Meanwhile the CEO said the infrastructure for a government data exchange platform, which will facilitate secure and seamless transfer of information between State entities, is being instituted.

    This, he noted, is integral to the centralized Information and Communications Technology (ICT) network that will link MDAs, a feature deemed pivotal to advancing Jamaica’s thrust to become a digital society.

    Mr. Barnes explained that for any system to operate, “there needs to be connectivity”.

    “So, we need to have a digital highway which will interconnect MDAs and also allow these agencies and entities to provide services to the citizens of the country,” he pointed out.

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    In this regard, Mr. Barnes advised that GovNet is the secure, wide area network infrastructure that will interconnect MDAs to facilitate shared services, with a centralized data centre comprising a consolidated voice communication system (Gov-Talk), a consolidated email system (Gov-Email); and Gov-Internet.

    “What we found, by analyzing the data across government, is that a lot of MDAs would have mini data centres, server rooms and these were not operating according to any international standards as far as security is concerned, safety of data, as well as performance in terms of the provisioning of services to the citizens. So we have embarked on a project to centralize these data centres by having a primary data centre which will be under the custody of eGov, with back up sites or disaster recovery sites,” he explained.

    Mr. Barnes pointed out that with the implementation of the various systems and infrastructure, a number of upgrades will take place across the MDAs.

    “We want to move to what we call a Tier 3 Standard for the data centre in order to ensure that if there is power failure or in the event of a natural disaster, systems will still be able to operate,” he outlined.

    The CEO further indicated that network devices will be upgraded to ensure that the necessary speeds that are required are in place.

    “What we want, is that once persons access system applications online, there is instant response as we are talking about fast, efficient service where persons do not have to wait in line, but there are proper infrastructures to facilitate ease and hassle-free service across the MDAs,” he stated.

    Mr. Barnes emphasized that a centralized system or shared model will ensure that every entity within the government operates uniformly at a specified standard.

    “So everybody will be interconnected and now we can put systems in place where the monitoring of the email mechanism goes to each and every entity. This will be pervasive across government and will increase efficiency as well as ensure that we are able to protect the government,” he pointed out.