Caribbean Governments must take greater advantage of available Technology

VoIP can help Government save costs and improve service

Rodney Taylor, Business Manager, CTU

A Government of Barbados initiative to use a technology known as Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP, to save thousands of dollars in telephone charges highlights the benefits that could be realized if Governments took greater advantage of available technology.

Mr.  Rodney Taylor, Business Development Manager of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), referenced his experience in overseeing the implementation of an Internet-based voice and data communications network for Barbados’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Speaking at the Caribbean ICT Roadshow in St Maarten, Taylor stated “The global economic crisis has forced Governments across the region to do more with less. This project was part of a concerted effort by the Barbados Government to lower costs, realize long term savings and improve the efficiency service delivery within the Government.”  According to Taylor, the VoIP system, currently in successful real-world use, has dramatically reduced the cost of communicating with Barbados’ embassies, missions and consulates in over 13 international cities around the globe.

Taylor revealed that at the ministry’s headquarters alone there was a 70% reduction on monthly line rentals.  “Overseas, the offices were configured to make long distance calls free of charge charges and this represented another 50% cost reduction” he added.

Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union
Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union

Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU, an inter-governmental organization responsible for advising the region’s governments on information and communications technology policy and trends stated “The CTU is working with its member states to create greater awareness of how technology can be used to realize savings in telecommunications costs and to improve Government communications and service delivery.”

“Regional Governments have only scratched the surface with respect to the potential cost savings that can be realized through greater appropriation of technology tools and services. The Caribbean ICT Roadshow has been designed to help raise awareness in our member countries of the significant savings that can be realized at a time when Caribbean governments are seeking ways to cut costs and save scarce foreign reserves”, Lewis added.

The CTU is on a regional crusade, through the Caribbean ICT Roadshow, to support Caribbean governments in effectively adopting information and communications technologies and crafting the policies needed to support ICT development.

Ms. Lewis stated “It is clear that regional leaders have to move on from the old way of doing business. The technology can be used to help our region realize the vision of development of which we have been hearing for so long.”  She added “There is no compelling reason why regional Governments should not move to embrace technologies like VoIP. In the case of Barbados, the Government expects the system to pay for itself within two years.”

About the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union CTU is a Caribbean intergovernmental organization dedicated to facilitating the development of the regional telecommunications sector. The CTU’s Mission is to create an environment in partnership with members to optimize returns from ICT resources for the benefit of stakeholders. The CTU is committed ensuring that tangible benefits from the development of the Caribbean information and telecommunication sectors accrue to the citizens of the region.

The Caribbean ICT Roadshow has been developed to raise awareness within the public sector, the private sector, civil society and academia, of the innovative approaches possible and necessary for the effective use of ICTs in government, business and social development.

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