Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has pledged to advance the information communication technology (ICT) sector, making it the catalyst for development and the engine of growth for the country’s economy.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 'Caribbean Open Data Conference and Code Sprint', held at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, today (January 26), the Minister pointed out that last year, Jamaica scored its lowest ever in the global competitiveness ranking in the sector, “moving from 67th in the world in 2006/2007 to 107th in 2011."
The Minister vowed to implement policies that would correct the decline in short order. He attributed the decline in Jamaica’s competitive status to, among other things, “below par infrastructural development as well as a lag in innovation."
Reflecting on the performance of the sector under his watch, the Minister observed that Jamaica had developed a strong ICT platform that, “in many ways, had become the benchmark of our regional counterparts."
“Jamaica has been ranked among the top 15 countries in the world with top broadband speeds; was ranked the number one e-government state in the Caribbean, according to the United Nations Global e-Government Readiness Report, published in 2005; and for 2006 the country was ranked 46 on the Network Readiness Index, beaten in the region only by Barbados. Unfortunately, over the past four years, the country has dropped to number 73,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that Jamaica, in the past, had been commended for demonstrating “clear government leadership and vision in leveraging information communication technology for growth."
The Minister expressed the Government’s commitment to pursue an ICT policy that enhances competition, encourages innovation, attracts new investments, contributes to education and training and generates jobs, including premium careers.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter