Tag Archives: Barbados

Caribbean voices joining global Internet debate

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—the entity that controls key bits of the Internet—gathers in Los Angeles this week to tackle an array of hot issues, in particular, governance of the Internet.

“Governments want to exert control over the sweeping transnational power of the Internet that is affecting their policies, politics, social fabric and/or their economic conditions,” ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehade told the media, days before this week’s ICANN 51 meeting, which will continue through October 16.

The dynamic between ICANN’s policies and the national or international laws regulating human society is complex, and is overseen by a dedicated committee within ICANN. “ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee, or GAC,” explained Albert Daniels, ICANN’s stakeholder engagement manager for the Caribbean. Continue reading Caribbean voices joining global Internet debate

BrightPath Foundation brings TechLink to T&T

BrightPath founder and executive director Bevil Wooding. Photo courtesy: BrightPath Foundation
BrightPath founder and executive director Bevil Wooding. Photo courtesy: BrightPath Foundation

Secondary school teachers and students will be immersed in a day of technology gadgets, spacemen and science experiments when the BrightPath TechLink program comes to T&T on September 27. “TechLink combines hands-on technology training with fun-filled creative activity, wrapped into a values-based learning experience that we believe can benefit participant for life,” BrightPath Foundation executive director Bevil Wooding told T&T Guardian. Continue reading BrightPath Foundation brings TechLink to T&T

Bright path to digital careers at TechLink Barbados

BrightPath facilitator Juma Bannister, left, leads eager young participants in a hands-on Digital Photography session at BrightPath's TechLink Barbados workshop, Cave Hill School of Business, June 21. Photo courtesy The BrightPath Foundation.
BrightPath facilitator Juma Bannister, left, leads eager young participants in a hands-on Digital Photography session at BrightPath’s TechLink Barbados workshop, Cave Hill School of Business, June 21. Photo courtesy The BrightPath Foundation.

More than thirty young Barbadians learned basic skills for developing successful mobile apps and producing high-quality digital photography at a special workshop facilitated by the BrightPath Foundation, in collaboration with Columbus Communications.

A mix of small business owners and entrepreneurs assembled at the Cave Hill School of Business for BrightPath’s TechLink, a regional technology education program offering training in digital content creation and business development.

Bevil Wooding, executive director of BrightPath Foundation, described TechLink as “practical training in technology related skills to communities across the region.” Continue reading Bright path to digital careers at TechLink Barbados

Barbados gets 150 mbps Internet Speeds

Barbados is officially the first Caribbean island to have access to broadband speeds of up to 150 mbps, which are now the fastest speeds available to residential customers in the Caribbean, according to a release from Columbus Communications.

“As of November 1, Flow residential broadband customers with Turbo 50 and Turbo 100 packages were automatically upgraded to download speeds of up to 75 mbps and 150 mbps respectively, at no additional cost,” the release said.
Since the launch of Columbus/Flow in Barbados six months ago, the company has continued to invest heavily to develop the island’s telecommunications infrastructure. Columbus Barbados has been the first Columbus residential subsidiary to launch Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services in the region.
Niall Sheehy, managing director of Columbus Barbados, cited the recent report released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which ranked Barbados third in the Americas and 29 of 157 countries assessed for the period 2012 to 2013–an improvement of 7 places on the 2011- 2012 report.

“This is just one of many international reports which are showing encouraging trends and solid growth of the ICT framework in Barbados, a development critical for the social and economic development and growth of any economy. And yet another powerful weapon in the armory to strengthen the country’s  position as an attractive potential investment opportunity for foreign companies.”

Caribbean Voices to Be Heard at Internet Governance Forum in Bali

Caribbean Voices to Be Heard at Internet Governance Meeting in Bali

More than 1,500 delegates will convene in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia from October 22nd to 25th to examine global cyber-issues such as online surveillance, privacy and human rights at the United Nations’ eighth international Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Internet stakeholders from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia and other Caribbean territories are expected to attend or participate virtually via remote hubs across the region.

Governing Our Internet

This year’s IGF is themed Access and Diversity—Internet as an Engine for Growth and Sustainable Development. Several high-level government officials, CEOs and directors of major global business organisations and civil society groups will attend. Among the voices representing the Caribbean perspective is Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.

“The IGF is of particular importance to the Caribbean as the forum provides a valuable platform for developing countries to share the same opportunity as wealthier nations to engage in important discussions that inform policies and impact how the Internet is governed,” Lewis said.

Trinidad-born Internet expert, Bevil Wooding, is listed to participate in several panels at the event. Wooding, an Internet Strategist for the global non-profit research firm Packet Clearing House, has helped to raise awareness of Internet governance issues in the Caribbean and other developing regions.

“The IGF is intended to foster a common understanding of how countries, organisations and individuals maximise Internet opportunities,” he said.

Concerns about broadband affordability and citizen security have been growing among governments in the Caribbean region, where investments in critical telecommunications infrastructure and policy development are needed in order to drive down prices, widen affordable access and address growing privacy concerns.

“One of the benefits of the IGF is that it provides an important outlet for the ventilation of issues that highlight the risks and challenges that attend the growth of the Internet, such as cyber-crime, government surveillance and affordable access to broadband internet. The forum is unique in that it allows participants to share their views through a very open and inclusive process,” Wooding added.

Spotlight on Surveillance

Wooding believes the emphasis on cybersecurity at the Bali meeting is of particular relevance to the Caribbean. Government in the region, and around the world, have expressed grave concern over the revelations of government surveillance that have come out of Edward Snowden’s release of classified U.S. National Security Agency documents last June.

“Each IGF provides a unique opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of information and perspectives on the global Internet. It provides a useful gauge of the current issues to be considered by any country seeking to better manage Internet resources, to increase internet usage and to promote safe and socially beneficial use of the Internet.”

The spotlight on surveillance is causing many countries to pay greater attention to issues such as investing in critical Internet infrastructure and participating in global fora where Internet policy is hammered out.

Among Trinidad and Tobago’s delegates to IGF 2013 are: Patrick Hosein, a lecturer at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine and administrator of the .TT domain name; Tracy Hackshaw, deputy national Chief Information Officer in the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Vice-Chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee; attorney-at-Law Cintra Sooknanan, a founding member and Chair of the Internet Society Trinidad and Tobago Chapter and Vice-Chair of the new gTLD Working Group at ICANN; and Sheba Mohammid, Director of Policy and Implementation at the Global Social Media Impact Study, European Research Council.


About IGF13

The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006. The IGF was first convened in October–November 2006 and has been held annually since then.  Each year the Secretary-General of the United Nations convenes the meeting through the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Find out more here.

ITU’s IDI puts spotlight on mobile broadband in the Caribbean

Click to enlarge the ITU ICT Development Index 2013.
Click to enlarge the ITU ICT Development Index 2013.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released its 2013 ICT Development Index, titled Measuring the Information Society. Known simply as the IDI, the ITU’s  annual report tracks global ICT trends and assigns a number ranking to countries based on their performance along measurable indices.

Globally, the report showed that strong growth in the number of wireless- and fixed-broadband subscriptions is enabling more and more countries to increase household ICT  use.

However, it is mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions that remained the fastest growing market segment over the past few years, followed by active-mobile broadband subscriptions.

In fact, Barbados, which is the top performer from the Caribbean, moved up seven places in this IDI, which covered the period 2011 to 2012, because its two mobile operators, Digicel and Lime, launched their mobile-broadband networks in November 2011.

By the same token, Antigua & Barbuda (49) and Trinidad & Tobago (66) fell in the rankings because they failed to keep up with the rapid increase in wireless-broadband penetration globally and across the Americas region. St Vincent & the Grenadines (63) and St Lucia (75), both of which performed poorly, remained without a mobile-broadband network in 2012.

Jamaica (93), the Dominican Republic (94), Guyana (105) and Cuba (111) were the other Caribbean territories ranked in the IDI.

Click here to download the International Telecommunications Union Information and Communications Technology Development Index report: Measuring the Information Society 2013.

Caribbean fisherfolk mobilise for stronger representation

Over 35 fisherfolk leaders and resource persons from 17 CARICOM countries met in August in Trinidad and agreed on a four-year plan of action which will see fisherfolk in the Caribbean mobilising for stronger representation in the region and internationally.

“There are many factors that are threatening the livelihoods of fisherfolk in the Caribbean and so it’s very important that they start taking a stronger role in governance,” said Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director of CANARI, a technical non-profit organisation aimed at facilitating participatory natural resource management in the Caribbean.

Fisherfolk agreed on an implementation plan for a four-year project funded by the European Union (EU) EuropeAid programme aimed at improving the contribution of the small scale fisheries sector to food security in the Caribbean through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk networks to participate in fisheries governance and management.

CANARI and its project implementing partners–the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of The University of the West Indies, Panos Caribbean, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CFRM)–organised the four-day workshop, which was held in Trinidad.

“This week we have learnt extensively about areas that we can take action to impact policy and to link fishing to food security and nutrition.  This is very important because globally these are very big issues–one policy we intend to impact is the small-scale fisheries guidelines,” said Mitchell Lay, Coordinator of the CNFO.

“These guidelines will impact all of us – I urge you get to know the guidelines better and encourage your governments to send representatives to ensure that our voices are heard,” he explained.

According to Lay, more fisherfolk need to be engaged in the global negotiations now taking place on the International Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries, being coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UN FAO). He said that at the recent negotiating meetings held in Rome this year only one Caribbean country was represented of all the 17 CARICOM countries represented at the fisherfolk workshop.

Participation in the ongoing negotiation of the international guidelines was one of the issues discussed at the workshop.  Fisherfolk also analysed the Draft Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and the CARICOM Nutrition and Food Security Policy.

The EU project will support efforts of fisherfolk to engage in national, regional and international policy debates to ensure that policies developed address the needs of small scale fisherfolk and ensure that they can continue to play a significant role in food security and nutrition in the Caribbean islands.

During the workshop fisherfolk also agreed on project activities to build the capacity of local, national and regional fisherfolk organisations through a combination of national training workshops, small grants, and ongoing coaching and support by a team of trained in-country mentors.

The over 1 million Euro project is targeting fisherfolk organisations in the CARICOM countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.