ICT Roadshow Montserrat ends with a commitment towards a national ICT plan

 BRADES, Montserrat – “We wondered if we could pull it off on Montserrat, but we rose to the challenge,” said Denzil West, Director of the Department of Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) at the closing of the ICT Roadshow Montserrat last Friday.

The three-day event was hailed a success by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) Secretary General, Ms. Bernadette Lewis and the Honourable Minister of Communications, Works & Lands, Mr. Charles T. Kirnon.

Minister Kirnon said he was impressed with the level of innovation already taken place on Montserrat that he was unaware of, adding the event showed that the island had the capacity to produce ICT solutions that could benefit the world. “We started out with a goal to empower and now we have also been enlightened and we cannot go back to business as usual. Whatever happens after we leave here, Montserrat must not be the same.”

The minister, who was the official host of the roadshow, said he had been pleased with the presentation by Daniel Joseph and Manish Valechha of Lavabits, the island’s first software development firm, and hoped others would take note of what the young entrepreneurs were doing with technology. He encouraged those present that “we should all take responsibility to develop the region for ourselves as it was clear that the capacity already existed” to do so.

Ms. Lewis said the roadshow went “way beyond the basic objectives and that seeds were planted over the past three days that they will now entrust to the government and the people of Montserrat to water and ensure they bear fruit.”

The DITES Director thanked the CTU for giving Montserrat the opportunity to host the ICT Roadshow, which he said “helped to unearth the catalyst towards Montserrat’s future development.”

West went on to present the action plan towards building the island’s ICT strategy. They include:

  • A formalized multi-stakeholder strategy plan;
  • A forum for parents to continue discussing the impact and implications of increased internet access for their children;
  • Government has to ascertain what is necessary to advance broadband access and international connectivity;
  • Focus attention on security issue arising from increased dependence on online business and services;
  • Tangible steps to encourage and facilitate and foster innovation and creativity in new niche markets;
  • All private sector to provide the leading edge technologies (rather than waiting on government); and
  • Specific steps to educate educators in the use, application and benefits of technology in education.

The roadshow was streamed lived on the internet and will be replayed in the coming weeks. For photos and information on the event, visit www.ictroadshow.ms.