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Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says a working group, comprising several ministry and agency representatives, has been established to assist in guiding the formation of the central government-wide communications network, dubbed GOVNET.

The initiative aims, among other things, to realize significant savings in the public sector through the use of a communications and data background platform.

Speaking at the inaugural Government Forum, hosted by LIME at the Wyndham Kingston hotel on Tuesday (Oct. 30), Mr. Paulwell informed that the group comprises representatives from his Ministry and the Ministry of Finance and Planning, as well as the Central Information Technology Office (CITO), and Fiscal Services Limited.

He advised that the team will be “looking at how to streamline, standardize and… centralize the implementation of enterprise information and communications technology projects through a single implementation agency”.

“(GOVNET aims) to harmonize and integrate all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in one…public sector communications network, presided over by a Chief Information Officer. We envision that GOVNET (will) be the vehicle through which information interoperability and seamless transfer of information between MDAs of government and other stakeholders will be realized,” the Minister outlined.

While acknowledging that public sector savings “is very important to the government at this time”, Mr. Paulwell said the administration’s vision for ICTs, as a transformational tool in the public sector, “goes beyond mere cost reduction”.

“We want to use ICTs to create a citizen-centric government that serves the people efficiently and effectively; but most of all, to embrace and enhance our democracy. If we can make the government more accessible to the people, both in terms of doing business and in terms of being able to access information, then we, as leaders, will be better able to engage the citizenry, particularly our young people, who we are losing.

“If we could make government more accessible, we (could) also increase transparency, reduce the opportunity for corruption, and we can begin to re-build the trust in the government by the people,” Mr. Paulwell contended.  

The forum, held under the theme: “Solutions that Enable Public Sector Transformation”, was hosted by LIME to engage government and information technology personnel in dialogue on as well as provide insight and demonstrations, on the solutions which can, among other things, enhance the public sector’s provisions.