JIS News

Jamaica’s Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, has been recognized by the editors of U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine as one of the 50 Most Important Blacks in Technology for 2005.
Mr. Paulwell was one of a few non-Americans to make the list, which was initially announced in January, and received his award at the conclusion of the 19th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference and Awards Dinner on Friday (February 18). The Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference is the premier career development and employee recognition event for blacks in engineering, science, and technology held in the United States.
The honorees are chosen for this annual list based on their work in making technology part of global society. During the year that the list is publicized, its members are presented to young people as role models, and their accomplishments are upheld as examples of the important contributions made on a daily basis by the millions of blacks in high-tech jobs around the world.
Minister Paulwell was also featured in the January/February 2005 edition of U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine, which is distributed to the top engineering universities in the United States, as well as Information Technology (IT) professionals throughout the country.
The other award winners were drawn from several top American private firms and prestigious research centres, such as the IBM Corporation, Sprint Communications Corporation, Boeing Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In his address to the conference, Mr. Paulwell stressed that establishing Jamaica’s reputation as a key high-tech destination within the Caribbean basin and developing a knowledge-based economy was a top priority of the Jamaican government. “Jamaica’s long-term economic advancement is indeed linked to our ability to promote further growth and expansion in the island’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, and to foster even greater levels of investment in this area,” he said.
The Minister stated that transforming the Jamaican economy into one, which is knowledge-based, was essential, given the increasing opportunities within the new global economy where the island had promising strategic advantages.
“With the liberalization of (Jamaica’s) telecommunications sector, we have seen a dramatic rise in small, innovative start-up firms coming on the scene and making very successful strides in creating new niche markets for Internet services and software development. These enterprises are diverse in scope and character and range from travel and tourism concerns to education, banking and financial services and are demonstrative of the considerable economic gains that are accruing from this sector,” he said.
Minister Paulwell also mentioned that recent initiatives in Jamaica, aimed at enhancing the relationship between government and citizens through the use of digital technologies, were altering the very concept of public service delivery.
In addition to highlighting practical advancements, such as the ability to pay for public services online, Mr. Paulwell noted that it was essential that government continue to “underscore the benefits and relevance of this sector and to increase the awareness – on all levels within Jamaica – about the economic opportunities that the further development and expansion of digital industries present for the Jamaican people.”
The Minister’s submission, which focused largely on the need to utilize digital technologies for national development, also spoke to the potential benefits for the Caribbean in increasing its investment in this emerging sector. He further argued that “strategic planning and a structured programme to maximize existing opportunities” could lead to even greater profitability within this sector.
“The dramatic advances in e-business and the increased success of digital industries in Jamaica and the Caribbean in generating economic growth and expanding employment opportunities, are clear indications of the vast potential that exists for the small economies of the region and underscores the potential benefits of liberalization in telecommunications,” Mr. Paulwell observed.

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