Gov’t gets High Marks for Telecoms Framework

Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, has given the Government high marks for the progress made in bringing the country’s telecommunication system to the standard set by the ITU for developing countries.
Dr. Toure, who was speaking at a ICT Forum hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC) yesterday (April 17) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, said he was impressed and encouraged by the level of commitment by the government in harmonizing the telecoms sector.
“All the strategies have been put in place in terms of the national telecommunication laws, in terms of competition and electronic transaction rules, and a good structure has been put in place to secure the transactions; that is very encouraging. I think we are witnessing here the fact that all the elements, ingredients are in place for a good chemical reaction.
A mushroom effect can be seen in a few years to come in this country and the credit should go to the leadership of the country,” he stated.
So impressed is the ITU with the progress made by Jamaica that the country has been chosen as the first e-learning centre of the Caribbean, thus establishing the country’s telecoms strategy as a model for the rest of the region.
This is in keeping with an initiative by the organization to use the best practices of countries with successful frameworks to bridge the gap found in other areas. “We chose Jamaica as the first e-learning centre in the Caribbean region just because we know that we can succeed here, and when we succeed here, we can move on into other countries and share our experiences and be sure we can replicate it,” Dr. Toure pointed out.
“It is very pleasant to see the level of commitment here. Jamaica is on the right track, and the future is bright for this country,” he added.
Turning to the future plans of the ITU, Dr. Toure informed that the organization has set a 2015 deadline to connect all schools, villages, and businesses across the globe, while imperatives over the next four years are: addressing cyber security; establishing a global coalition to assist in disaster mitigation; and bridging the digital divide.
Pledging to work with the Caribbean and other developing countries to achieve the latter goal, the ITU head said that, “this means ensuring that everyone in every country has the right policy regulatory framework in place to ensure that there is a level playing field, room for competition, potential for growth and infrastructure build-up, to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place.”
In terms of cyber security, he said that a global anti-criminal framework must be put in place, as a key element for national and international development. “You need to have common cyber strategies that will enable you to implement e-governance, e-health, e-commerce, e-education and e-agriculture. National or regional frameworks are no longer sufficient,” Dr. Toure stated, noting that the ITU hoped to put such a framework in place by the end of 2008.
He said that the ITU will be working with developing countries to create national cyberspace agencies and to put them into the global network.
Minister Phillip Paulwell, in his address, noted that the ITU has been instrumental in the development of Jamaica’s electronic transaction policy framework, which highlights key challenges in various domains and proposes strategies for transforming this vision into reality for many sectors of the society.”
“We appreciate the ITU’s role in providing neutral and objective advice in technology strategies and policies for e-government and e-commerce and look forward to closer collaboration with ITU,” he said.
Dr. Toure is in the island for a four-day visit on the invitation of the Ministry.

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