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For the 2004/05 fiscal year, the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) accomplished its objective of having Jamaica listed among countries where a national e-readiness survey will be conducted on a yearly basis.
This is revealed in Ministry Paper 39, which was tabled by Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell yesterday (June 1), in the House of Representatives.
The document noted that Jamaica would be added to a select list of countries where the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) routinely conducts an annual e-readiness survey. The EIU is a branch of the Economist magazine, and is responsible for the series of international indicators that the magazine publishes. The addition of Jamaica to the countries being covered is a result of the successful request made by CITO. Currently, 76 countries are included in the EIU e-readiness survey as of this year, and the field work has already begun and indications are that the report should have been available two months ago.
Representation to the EIU by CITO was based on the determination that its e-readiness survey would make for better international comparability. This is due to the fact that the same standards, questions and measures are uniformly applied by the EIU to all the countries.
Prior to its request to the EIU, CITO examined 10 different models to ensure that the e-readiness survey was well designed and comprehensive. It examined methodology developed by the Centre for International Development at Harvard University, which was used in Jamaica in 2002, and more recently by Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
The Ministry Paper noted that while there were expressed concerns that Jamaica’s e-readiness is not being ranked as highly as it could, to some extent, this is a result of Jamaica not having completed a survey since 2002. This new approach is viewed as a measure that ensures that the information is continually up-to-date.
During the 2004/05 financial year, CITO also implemented initiatives in the areas of joined-up government and public/private sector partnerships. After Hurricane Ivan last year, the Ministry Paper said that current and requisite information about disaster management facilities was widely available, accurate, routinely updated, and centrally registered. It was agreed at the time, that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) was the ideal entity to host information related to critical coverage areas, such as electricity, water, telephone, Internet, roads, television, airports, docks, shelters and hospitals. The Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) was identified as one of the main target users.
With both these agencies, and information communication technology suppliers, the Ministry Paper cited CITO as facilitating the upgrading of the ODPEM website and provided linkages to the application used to record disaster information. The upgraded website allowed for an improvement in the ODPEM response and the expansion of critical event data being captured.
The CITO is the institution that monitors and co-ordinates the activities outlined in Jamaica’s National Strategic Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plans.