Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, says that more e-participation software applications (apps) will be rolled out this fiscal year.
The apps are aimed at fostering civic engagement and open participatory governance through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).
“Just as an example, we have been working with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company on an app that would allow persons who are having issues with streetlights to be able to put that information into the app, take a picture of the streetlight, upload it and follow the progress,” Minister Williams noted.
“This would allow persons to feel more engaged in the system and to know that their problems are being dealt with or at least they have the information to let them know where their issues are in the system,” she added.
She was addressing a debriefing session for Jamaican participants in the 2020 Collision conference at the Canadian High Commission in St. Andrew on July 8.
Collision, held in Toronto, is one of the fastest growing tech conferences in North America, bringing together venture capitalists, tech entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders in the tech industry to collaborate and share ideas.
A local delegation participated in this year’s special virtual edition of the conference, which took place from June 23 to 25.
Minister Williams commended the participants and encouraged them to develop apps and create solutions that reinvent and reshape the future.
“With innovation vastly changing the way we live and do business; I want to see a Jamaica that reduces its dependence on paper-based services and advances to more digital platforms for business. This is how I imagine a new Jamaica, and strong partnerships and strategic plans and policies can get us there,” she pointed out.
Minister Williams noted that ICT is an important priority for the Government for the 2020/21 fiscal year “as we advance towards 2030”.
Among the areas of focus are implementation of a Government Wide Area Network, which will facilitate the transfer of information among ministries, departments and agencies and consolidate data centres across government; and transitioning to the ICT Authority, which will have responsibility for the Government’s ICT infrastructure, making public services more efficient and accessible.
Mrs. Williams noted that the public education campaign surrounding the Data Protection Act, 2020 will also be undertaken during the fiscal year.
She said that the campaign seeks to educate Jamaicans on their rights to their personal data and to ensure that institutions that collect personal data know their responsibilities and obligations.
“As we become a more digital society, data protection is going to become more and more real to us,” she said.
In her remarks, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, stated her country’s commitment to being a “good partner to Jamaica when it comes to ICT”.
“We are committed to sharing what we have learnt along the road… of ICT, and we are delighted to play a role in being a bridge-builder, matchmaker and dot connector when it comes to supporting Jamaica in your quest for connectivity, digitisation and digital solutions,” she said.