Cognizant at that time of the growing importance of telecommunications for the social and economic development of the Caribbean and the need to foster international cooperation and development by means of efficient telecommunications services, the Governments of the Member States of the Caribbean Community established the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) by treaty on 28th April, 1989.
The agreed primary goals of the CTU, inter alia, were:
- To facilitate the coordination of the planning, programming and development of intra-regional and international communications networks to meet the immediate and future telecommunications needs of the Region;
- To assist the development of the national components of regional and international telecommunications networks; and
- To promote the general awareness of the telecommunications needs of the Caribbean Region and its potential for promoting the socio-economic development of the Region.
In 2004, the CTU’s 7th General Conference of Ministers expanded the mission of the CTU to incorporate all aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT) and amended the membership structure of the Union to permit non-CARICOM Caribbean States, private sector and civil society participation.
The CTU then embarked on a programme of operational activities and projects which served to position the CTU as a credible and relevant institution which was able to effectively address the needs of its members in the rapidly changing technological environment. Its new mission is “To create an environment in partnership with members to optimize returns from ICT resources for the benefit of stakeholders”
The CTU has been able to create a multi-stakeholder platform that actively promotes collaboration among all ICT stakeholders and public-private partnerships. Through its expanded membership, the private sector, civil society and regulators are actively engaged in the policy formulation processes.
The CTU, by its work over the last 10 years, is uniquely poised to fulfill the role first envisioned by the CARICOM Governments when they established the CTU in 1989. The CTU has become:
- The primary facilitator for the formulation of Caribbean ICT policy and best practices,
- The preferred source of ICT advice for regional Governments,
- A major contributor to the development of ICT capacity within the region, and
- The designated advocate for Caribbean ICT positions at international fora.