Tag Archives: Grenada

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

The Caribbean urgently needs better communications infrastructure. Could public-private partnerships be the answer?

Caribbean countries are deepening their investment in critical communications infrastructure, in order to secure future economic growth and create pathways to social innovation.

 

Regional leaders reiterated the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) to regional growth at the Caricom Heads of Government conference held at Dickenson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda from July 1st to 4th. They noted its importance as an enabler for other sectors and as a critical sector in its own right to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

The governments of Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are now partnering with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to harmonise the development of national communications infrastructure across the Eastern Caribbean. As an agency of CARICOM, the CTU was approached by the World Bank in 2012 to support a holistic approach to regional public infrastructure development, through a program called CARCIP—the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program—funded through the World Bank’s International Development Association. CARCIP was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU.

 

CTU hosts PPP talks

Under CARCIP, the countries will establish and upgrade submarine cable infrastructure, terrestrial broadband backbone fibre networks and cross-border links, as well as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). More significantly, a pilot initiative launched under CARCIP could change how regional governments work with the private sector to keep their national broadband network infrastructure upgraded, secure and open to competitors. On July 8, the CARCIP project coordination unit of the CTU will host a workshop on public-private partnership, commonly called PPP. Government officials attending the workshop will seek to develop a better understanding of PPPs among stakeholders in the CARCIP countries, and a plan for the development of a legal, regulatory and institutional framework that will support the implementation of PPP projects.

 

The workshop will be facilitated by Denzel Hankinson, a public-private partnership (PPP) and telecommunications specialist, and owner of DH Infrastructure, with almost two decades of experience in public infrastructure development projects and PPP training for projects in Mongolia, Nepal, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ghana and the United States.

 

The use of PPPs in the region has, in general, been limited and mostly ad-hoc, but renewed interest has emerged due to increased fiscal pressures. An official communqué from the CARICOM heads of government conference in Antigua describes the promotion of more private sector investment and public-private partnerships as “a critical driver of economic growth in a mutually beneficial partnership towards the promotion of the community’s growth agenda”. At the conference, a meeting of heads of government and regional business leaders touched on the need to create “capital-friendly economies through an improved harmonised regulatory framework and public private partnerships”.

 

CARCIP is, in this context, a pilot initiative providing proof-of-concept for the wider regional PPP implementation efforts. The second report of the Caricom Commission on the Economy, which focussed on the reform of the region’s business operating environment, specifically identified the need to promote public private partnerships for the development of the economic infrastructure with technical advice from the World Bank and other international organisations. But there is little activity in the wider Caribbean, no doubt in part becuase the understanding of what PPPs are, when to use them, and how to structure transactions remains limited, although Jamaica and T&T have introduced PPP policies, established PPP units, and are developing detailed guidelines for procuring projects as PPPs.

 

As a precursor to the PPP Workshop, the CTU will host a meeting of CARCIP project coordinators and permanent secretaries of the respective ministries with responsibility for ICT, on July 7th. Representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN), who are partnering with the CTU on the regional project, will also attend.

Both CTU meetings will take place at the its new headquarters in St Clair, Port-of-Spain.

 

“We are happy to host the CARCIP meeting and public-private partnership workshop, and look forward to a productive session,” said Junior Mc Intyre, CARCIP CTU project coordinator.

Driving development through innovation: CTU brings regional technology entrepreneurship seminar to Grenada

GRANDE ANSE, Grenada – A regional workshop recently held in Grenada encouraged local entrepreneurs to leverage cutting-edge technology to develop world-class products and services which address challenges facing Caribbean society.

The workshop, held at the Grenada Grand Beach Resort, Grande Anse on March 24th and 25th, was part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).

“The underlying philosophy of the CTU’s ongoing regional workshop series is that the very same conditions that present severe challenges for Grenada and other Caribbean islands, are also creating unique opportunities for the region,” said Junior Mc Intyre, CARCIP Project Coordinator for the CTU, delivering welcome remarks at the opening ceremony.

The job of Caribbean innovators, Mc Intyre said, is to look past the challenges and discern the opportunities. Lead facilitator for the CTU CARCIP workshop, Bevil Wooding, underscored that reality.

“The survival of the region’s economies depends on our ability leverage modern technology to produce, compete and excel in the global environment,” said Wooding, who is an Internet Strategist with U.S.-based non-profit, Packet Clearing House.

Gregory Bowen, Minister for Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT and Community Development, described the workshop as an opportunity to deepen the Government’s ongoing thrust to develop the country’s ICT sector, in order to improve quality of life and create jobs in the local economy.

“Ultimately, the investment being made by the Government of Grenada is not just in the upgrade of the physical equipment but in the improvement of the quality of the lives of our citizens. Our goal is to ensure that all of our people in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique benefit from the development of ICT infrastructure,” Bowen said.

In March, a historic ICT Bridge connecting Grenada’s sister isles Carriacou and Petite Martinique to the global Internet, was formally launched at the Resource Centre in Hillsborough.

Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, echoed Bowen’s emphasis on the dynamic link between infrastructure development to human development.

“Through CARCIP, we are aiming to advance the development of an ICT-enabled services industry in the Caribbean region by increasing access to regional broadband networks,” Joseph said.

Grenada is not alone in recognising the significance of ICT to national and regional development. At the 25th intersessional meeting of the conference of heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on March 10-11, Caribbean governments reaffirmed that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plays a crucial role in advancing all regional development initiatives. CARICOM plans to focus over the next two years on developing a Single ICT Space as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

“The creation of a Single ICT Space within our community should be pursued vigorously in our efforts to bring technology to the people,” said CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

Addressing the inter-sessional meeting, Grenadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, who holds responsibility for ICT in CARICOM, issued a call for the region to work together to develop appropriate regional ICT development strategies and programmes.

The work of implementing ICT development policy objectives falls largely on CTU, which plays a significant role in coordinating the region’s response to technology-related challenges through various public education activities, targeting ministers with responsibility for telecommunications, Internet Service Providers, regulators and policy-makers in the ICT sector, as well as end-users and consumers of technology.

Through extensive regional public education activities, such as its Caribbean ICT Roadshow, Caribbean Internet Governance Forum, and Strategic Ministerial Seminar series, the CTU has established a track record of creating awareness across various sectors of Caribbean society of the importance of ICT and Internet Governance to the region.

Against that backdrop, the World Bank approached the CTU to regionally coordinate CARCIP, working closely with the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Grenada, and alongside regional organisations such as the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN).

Launched in June 2013 at the Crown Ballroom of the Grenada Grand Beach Resort, CARCIP aims to improve the efficiency of regional telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider Caribbean. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, the project was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU.

The Grenada workshop is the third in the CTU’s ongoing series. The two-day event brings together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.

Among the workshop presenters are Dr Farid Youssef, an expert in neuroscience based in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine; Norman Gibson, an expert in rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region; Eric Nurse, ICT Director for the Government of Grenada; Glenda Joseph-Dennis, an independent Business Development Consultant specialising in leadership and organisational development; and Joseph I. Gill, the software developer and entrepreneur behind mobile technology startup TopItUp.TV.

The first CTU CARCIP Innovation Workshop was held at the Bay Gardens Resort, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia on February 10 and 11, while the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines event was held at the Buccament Bay resort on February 26 and 27.

Incubating the Caribbean: CTU brings CARCIP Innovation Workshop to Grenada

A series of workshops rolling out across the Caribbean is intended to spark and harness the power of Caribbean innovation as an engine for technology-enabled development and enterprise.

The workshop suite is part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Program, which is coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). The next CTU CARCIP Innovation workshop will take place in Grenada on March 24th and 25th.

Building on the foundation of upgraded critical Internet and telecommunications infrastructure, CARCIP aims to clear the path for local innovators and entrepreneurs to develop world-class, locally driven, technology-enabled services that address the needs of Grenada and the wider Caribbean. The thrust by CTU to accelerate Caribbean entrepreneurship through technology-driven innovation builds on the work of their Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which has been held 21 times in 18 Caribbean countries.

“The CTU has been the regional pioneer for initiatives designed to foster innovative and beneficial use of ICT in Caribbean countries for national and regional development,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU.

The underlying philosophy of the CTU’s engagement with the region through CARCIP, Lewis said, is that the very same conditions that present severe challenges for the region are also creating unique opportunities for the discerning and capable.

“As twentieth-century international relations frameworks are dismantled, the emerging economies of developing regions find themselves uniquely placed to take advantage of new rules of engagement,” she said.

In the case of Grenada, the CARCIP workshop is an opportunity to deepen the Government’s ongoing thrust to develop the country’s ICT sector.

“We are extremely proud to be the next host of the CTU’s CARCIP Innovation Workshops, and we look forward to discovering new ways to apply technology to everyday challenges,” said Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Public Utilities, Physical Development and ICT, Grenada.

The CTU has established a record of bringing substantial value to Caribbean governments and citizens through aggressive regional public education activities. The two-day Grenada workshop will bring together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.

Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with U.S.-based non-profit, Packet Clearing House, is the lead facilitator.

“Caribbean problems are real but those problems have real solutions. Caribbean innovators must respond to our challenges by using and creating technology to discover and design relevant solutions,” said Wooding.

Against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty, the Caribbean now faces serious challenges, such as its outmoded physical and institutional infrastructure, diminishing global competitiveness and the hemorrhaging of its qualified human resource and the climate change, flight of intellectual capacity and the dismantling of preferential trade arrangements for agricultural products.

In response, the regional programme aims to improve the efficiency of telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider Caribbean. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, CARCIP was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU.

CARCIP is a partnership between the World Bank and the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Grenada, alongside regional organisations such as the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN), all under the coordination of the CTU.

The Grenada workshop will be the third in the ongoing series. Among the workshop presenters are Dr Farid Youssef, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine; and Norman Gibson, an expert in rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region.

The first CTU CARCIP Innovation Workshop was held at the Bay Gardens Resort, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia on February 10 and 11, while the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines event was held at the Buccament Bay resort on February 26 and 27.

CARCIP calls for more regional innovation: Eastern Caribbean governments harnessing technology for enterpreneurship

Three Eastern Caribbean countries are benefitting from an infrastructure development thrust that could usher in a new era of technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship for the region.

The initiative is part of the World Bank-funded Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). A series of workshops rolling out in Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenada are intended to ensure that citizens can take full advantage of the telecommunications infrastructure upgrades. The series aims to encourage greater innovation in the public and private sector across the region.

The inaugural workshop, which took place on February 10th  and 11th at Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, brought together some of the region’s leading minds in the fields of entrepreneurship, information and communications technology, leadership development and innovation.

Hosted by the Saint Lucian Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, the workshop set out to stimulate new approaches to national through the application of modern technology and new ways of thinking.

Bevil Wooding, one of the leading technology experts in the region and an Internet Strategist with US-based Packet Clearing House, delivered the keynote. In his wide-ranging address, Wooding highlighted the challenges behind the region’s chronic lack of innovation. But his emphasis was on solutions and opportunities.

“In reality, the potential exists today to overcome the many challenges in the region. What we face is more a challenge of leadership paradigm than of technical possibility.”

He added, “The opportunity before us is to define and articulate a clear set of actionable priorities. These must be based on our native strengths and shaped to match a properly

resourced vision for development.”

Building on Wooding’s address was Dr. Farid Youssef, a neuroscience expert from The University of the West Indies, St Augustine. His presentation focused on the brain science and psychology behind innovative thinking.

Citing a blend of recent academic research and familiar examples of great innovators, Dr. Youssef showed that meaningful change was not produced by spasms of creative genius, but came as the result of consistently applied effort. He called on educators and policy makers to change the common approaches to education development in the region. He described current practices as “outmoded”, “obsolete” and “damaging to creativity and innovation.”

“We’re talking about innovation, but are we prepared to put in the hard work required to produce meaningful change?” he asked.

Other workshop presenters included Shearvon Devenish, Information Systems Manager at Sugar Beach Resorts, Saint Lucia; Norman Gibson, an expert in science and technology

for rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region; Dr. Cletus Bertin, Director of Public Sector Modernisation, Saint Lucia; and Ramesh Lalla, Director of National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (NEDCO) in Trinidad and Tobago.

The CARCIP Innovation series rolls into Saint Vincent on February 26th  and 27th, with a third installment scheduled for Grenada at the end of March 2014.

Creating Caribbean content: BrightPath, Columbus hold mobile app workshop in Grenada

A new initiative from BrightPath Foundation is taking a radical approach to Caribbean digital content creation. Called TechLink, the new project is already being described as a revolution in community-driven technology-driven education for the region.

On February 1, BrightPath Foundation, in collaboration with its corporate partner Columbus Communications, brought TechLink’s second mobile app development workshop to St George’s, Grenada.

Stephen Lee, technology trainer for the TechLink progam, said what the 20 college-age participants lacked in experience they made up for in enthusiasm.

“Most of the participants, I would say 75 per cent, had little or no prior app development experience. But many were actively pursuing an interest in mobile apps and saw the TechLink workshop as an opportunity to learn more and develop expertise,” he said.

The workshop syllabus included sessions covering the overall app development process, from idea to publishing, and a live walkthrough of Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone development environments. Lee also presented an overview of game development frameworks and did a walkthrough of online app builders: Appery.io and MIT App Inventor 2.

Participants of all levels were directed to online training resources and encouraged to keep developing skills and innovating. Kensuki Morris, a St. George’s University Student who attended, said, “This initiative is awesome. It encourages young people to empower themselves by taking advantage of what is available through broadband and skills. I will definitely attend future sessions.”

This programme focused specifically on youth from local communities. Fifteen participants were return attendees, who were joined by six new participants. They were exposed to a vast amount of information on the development, design, coding and production of mobile applications.

“The workshop is specifically designed to ensure that all participants, regardless of their entry-level, get a solid introduction to mobile app development and leave with a robust set of resources to start their mobile app development journey,” said Bevil Wooding, Founder of BrightPath Foundation.

At the regional launch of TechLink in Grenada on November 30, 2013, more than 100 young people and small business entrepreneurs participated in a full day of workshops. Many walked away energised with new ideas and ways that technology could be used to develop their communities, businesses as well as their career plans.

Gail Purcell, country manager for Columbus Communications Grenada, said, “Since its debut in Grenada, TechLink continues to attract audiences from all sectors–young people, parents, educators, and small and micro-business owners. At Columbus, we are proud to know that our company is associated with such a program that maintains our corporate social responsibility to all our customers, while truly affording our staff who support, and the participants who attend, such a rewarding experience.”

Grenada is just the beginning. BrightPath is already partnering with on-the-ground community leaders in St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Montserrat, Wooding said.

“The goal is to see TechLink run in countries across the region from Belize to Suriname, targeting youth, parents, seniors, educators and small business owners,” he said.