JIS News

Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings, has announced that the Ministry will be placing emphasis on the establishment of community access points, as part of efforts to increase public access to information technology.
“We are going to have these community access points in shops, community centres and the like. This means that the man in the community can go to the shop, which has an electronic access point, and pay his bill so you do not have to have the actual hardware and software in your home,” he stated.
Minister Mullings, who was addressing the sixth in a series of focus group meetings on the Electronic Transactions Act yesterday (Nov. 15) at the Altamont West Hotel in Montego Bay, said the administrators of the Universal Access Fund, with whom he met recently, shared his enthusiasm about this initiative.
Turning to the E-Transactions Act, Minister Mullings said the legislation marks a change in the way business is transacted in Jamaica. “The world is online, and we now have to ensure that we keep in step with what is happening,” he emphasized.
“Hotel reservations, rental of ground transport, airline reservations and other activities related to the travel and tourism industries are increasingly being done electronically. At the same time, more Jamaicans are using the computer, internet, and other digital technologies to do business transactions,” Minister Mullings pointed out.
The government, Minister Mullings said, continues to support a technology policy that promotes e-governance, e-commerce, distance education and the use of information and communications technology to drive the process of development and generation of jobs. He noted that the convergence of technologies and the dynamic nature of that sector, dictates that the government must continually examine and modify policies and legislative framework in order to facilitate rather than hinder the development process.
The E-Transaction Act, which came into effect on April 2, 2007, sets out the legal framework for electronic business transactions in Jamaica.
The focus group meetings, which are being staged by the Ministry, are aimed at informing the general public about their responsibilities and rights under the Act and the benefits that can be derived.
Director General in the Ministry, Karlene Francis, said that the sessions, which started in October, will continue through to January 2008. The next meeting will be held in Ocho Rios. Also making presentations at the Montego Bay focus group meeting were: Tricia-Gaye Watson, attorney-at-law, who spoke on the legal provisions of the Act, and Carl Morgan, Chief Information Officer with the Trade Board, who addressed the certification of information technology service providers.

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