Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Wednesday 17th May 2023
On Tuesday 16th May 2023, nine (9) Caribbean Ministers and two (2) Senior Advisors with responsibility for Digital Transformation signed the ‘Port of Spain Commitment on Digital Integration.” This agreement marked the culmination of discussions that took place during the Executive Sessions on Digital Leadership in the Caribbean on May 15th to 16th, 2023 and signals a commitment to collective action in pursuit of sustainable digital transformation across the Region.
The Executive Leadership Sessions, which were hosted by the Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT) on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in partnership with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), reaffirmed the priority to be placed on advancing digital transformation (DT) to support social and economic growth in the Caribbean.
The Sessions created an enabling space in which the region’s most senior DT policymakers with the support of internationally-renowned thought leaders and speakers, discussed and shared information on their DT efforts. They spoke frankly of their successes, challenges and areas of interests in seeking to leverage technology to improve the lives of citizens at home and abroad; and agreed on action within the rubric of three critical DT areas, namely Infrastructural Ecosystem, Cybersecurity, and Digital Identity (e-ID) and Interoperability.
Consequently, and as detailed in the Port of Spain Commitment on Digital Integration, the agreed activities are to:
- Consider the creation of a Regional Government Cloud leveraging existing or planned government data centres across the Caribbean Region.
- Establish a Regional Data Centre to provide a more cost-effective and resilient solution for data storage and management.
- Develop a Regional C-SIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) to coordinate collaboration among national CSIRTS.
- Enhance Cybersecurity Education, Training, and Awareness to build capacity, to address the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry; and to promote safe online practices and educate citizens on the risks associated with cyber threats.
- Develop a Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Regional Framework to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats, identify vulnerabilities, and implement appropriate risk mitigation measures.
- Pursue cross-border recognition of digital IDs, addressing issues such as data protection, and privacy.
- Establish a shared repository of digital solutions (government-owned source code) allowing governments access to solutions required for their digital transformation efforts.
- Develop a region-wide validation of national forms of identification and credentials based on an interoperable digital identity.
The 11 countries which formed part of the Commitment are: Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Upon confirming Trinidad and Tobago’s full support for the landmark agreement, Senator the Honourable Hassel Bacchus, Minister of Digital Transformation and current President of the CTU General Conference of Ministers declared “Waiting is not an action; after this, there will be no waiting, we will be doing.”
Rodney Taylor, Secretary-General of CTU stated that “the CTU is eager to assist in moving this digital agenda forward, to promote regional ICT integration and accelerate digital transformation within the Single ICT Space.”
Similarly, Executive Director of the IDB, Robert L. Le Hunte expressed support, stating that, “there are several things that we can do collaboratively and interactions like these will be instrumental in shaping a more inclusive digital transformation process,”.
During the two-day event, Caribbean Ministers and Senior Officials were also presented with IDB’s newest publication, ‘Government Digital Transformation Guide’ which classifies and summarises cutting-edge knowledge on transformation topics including new digital processes and services, key roles for digital government, and cybersecurity.
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