In preparation for the International Summit (Connect the Americas) to be held July 2012, The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in conjunction with Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) and Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organisations (CANTO) hosted, Connect the Caribbean on the 22-23, March 2012; which was sponsored by the Ministry of Public Administration and the International Development Bank.
President of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Minister of Public Administration (T&T) Mrs Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was on hand and gave the feature speech at the meeting. Holding dual roles as both CTU president and Minister with responsibility of telecommunications and transformation (T&T) Mrs Seepersad-Bachan is championing the initiative.
Connect the Americas is an international summit organized by the ITU and which will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Panama. Connect the Americas is part of ITU's Connect the World Series, an ambitious initiative which seeks to reduce the digital divide and connect the whole world to the internet by the year 2015. There are 5 ITU regions with one summit held for each region. The Connect Africa, Connect Arab and Connect CIS regional summits have already been held this year. Latin America and the Caribbean will hold a preparatory meeting on April 20th followed by the CTA Summit from July 17th to 19th 2012.
The aim of the CTC preparatory meeting for the CTA Summit in July was to have a coordinated Caribbean approach based on common goals set within the region. The Caribbean recognizes it has particular characteristics within the context of close borders, resource constraints and similar telecommunications industry development.
The CTA Summit seeks to offer opportunities for human, financial and technical resources to cooperate on various regional projects.
Projects fell under the five priority thematic areas –:
· Emergency Communication;
· Broadband Diffusions in Rural and urban areas;
· ICT and Human Capacity Building;
· Digital Broadcasting and;
· ICTs and Climate change
Additionally, the preparatory meeting also sought to gain consensus on the concept paper being put forward by the Caribbean on connectivity.
The objectives of CTC Concept Paper are:
- Development oriented objectives of the region’s ICT-centred organizations
- Status of Connectivity in the region and factors inhibiting the full exploitation of ICTs for growth
- Discussion of Competitiveness of the Region
These proposals seek to strengthen the region’s Information and Communication capabilities and range from emergency communication systems, research networks, human capacity building, application creation, broadband access and international exchange points. An extended deadline of April 30th 2012 for project submission and modification was set at the meeting. The Caribbean Telecommunications Union will coordinate the Caribbean’s project proposals except for those projects directly related to content generation and creation which will be coordinated by the CKLN.
CARICOM representatives present were keen on encouraging harmonisation and creating synergies amongst projects where possible.
Participants at the preparatory meeting included delegates from Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Representatives from the University of the West Indies and IDT- Telecom – USA also attended.