Tag Archives: Jamaica

Jamaica’s Team Node420 wins regional code sprint in Suriname

From left, Guyanese Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy presents the first-place prize cheque for 5,000 euros to Matthew Mc Naughton and Jamaican team Node420, at the award ceremony for the Agrihack Caribbean Talent competition in Paramaribo, Suriname, on October 9. Photo courtesy: The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)​.
From left, Guyanese Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy presents the first-place prize cheque for 5,000 euros to Matthew Mc Naughton and Jamaican team Node420, at the award ceremony for the Agrihack Caribbean Talent competition in Paramaribo, Suriname, on October 9. Photo courtesy: The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)​.

A group of Jamaican developers won top regional honours in a regional hackathon, held as part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Suriname.

Team Node420 beat seven other teams of young developers in the #agrihack, held in Paramaribo from October 5 to 9.

Their winning app is designed to give farmers real-time weather analysis, allowing more efficient agricultural planning. Continue reading Jamaica’s Team Node420 wins regional code sprint in Suriname

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

Legacy of 1804: Caribbean cellcos block VoIP in Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad

Blogosphere and ICT Pulse on Alice Backer's Legacy of 1804
Blogosphere and ICT Pulse on Alice Backer’s Legacy of 1804

Can you hear me now?

Tonight at 9 Eastern, I join Michele Marius (ICT Pulse), Gary Dauphin (USC Annenberg) and Pascal Antoine (HaitiXchange), to discuss Caribbean cellcos’ move to block VoIP in Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Tune in to Legacy of 1804, hosted by Alice Backer.

Agrocentral: A Caribbean Startup Success Story in the making

Jermaine Henry, left, and Janice Mc Leod, two of the creators of Agrocentral at Gordon House, Jamaica
Jermaine Henry, left, and Janice Mc Leod, two of the creators of Agrocentral at the CMIP Launch at the UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona Campus, Jamaica

A beautiful thing about living in the Caribbean is being part of a Diaspora of developing nations, in which people are faced the same issues you contend with at home. Seen through the right lens, the so-called Third World transforms from an environment defined by limitation and constraint, to one in which you’re surrounded daily with opportunities to develop meaningful answers to complex, deep-rooted and inter-related problems, and you have a global market for any marketable solutions that you can deliver!

It’s all a matter of perspective. Somewhere in Jamaica, for example, there’s a farmer growing really high quality produce, but whose assured market is so small that she suffers perennial spoilage. Meanwhile, over in Trinidad and Tobago, there’s an agro-processor who insists he could make it big, if he only had a more consistent quality from his supplier. And up north, in the Bahamas, a medium-sized restaurant is on the verge of breaking through but needs assured delivery of agricultural produce.

Now, if some young, bright, entrepreneurial, innovative minds were to get together, surely they could design a system that allowed the farmer to get to market and find the best offers, and allowed the businessmen to access produce at competitive prices. Just ask 23-year-old Jermaine Henry, one of four thinkers behind AgroCentral, Jamaica’s new digital agricultural clearing house. Continue reading Agrocentral: A Caribbean Startup Success Story in the making

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.

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.

IXP Crucial To Building St Lucia’s Digital Economy

An Internet exchange point would play a crucial role in facilitating the growth of St. Lucia’s emerging digital economy, an international technology expert has said.

Bevil Wooding, an Internet strategist with US-based Packet Clearing House (PCH), said the Caribbean island already has a wealth of human resource talent in the information and communications technology sector.

“St Lucia can accelerate its national development agenda by focusing attention on human resource development and by locating critical Internet infrastructure, such as IXPs, on the island,” Wooding stated.

The comments came at the launch of a digital content education agreement between the St Lucia National Youth Council and BrightPath Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides technology education. Wooding was speaking on the role of IXPs in facilitating the development of local content.

Christopher Roberts, project coordinator for the Caribbean Regional Infrastructure Project with the government of St-Lucia, explained that an IXP works by keeping local Internet traffic routed locally and thus avoiding the costs, inefficiencies and delays incurred when local Internet traffic has to traverse expensive international routes.

Roberts explained that there is considerable demand for bandwidth intensive applications, cloud-based services and high-speed networks in St Lucia, particularly among the island’s youth.

“An internet exchange point will play an important role in underpinning our digital economy.  Our country already has a pool of creative young persons, itching to take advantage of the opportunities the Internet presents.  But our longstanding infrastructure, bandwidth and cost of access issues have been a major stumbling block.

“A domestic IXP can provide new opportunities for technology-based innovation by our youth and our entrepreneurs.”

Wooding said IXPs would also help lower the cost of delivering services to end-users, speed up transmissions, strengthen the resilience of local networks, and decrease international Internet connectivity costs.

“Without the appropriate infrastructure, government, businesses and consumers will continue to be frustrated, and the promise benefits of the Internet age will continue to elude the country,” he said.

PCH will provide technical assistance and advice to the government of St. Lucia for the local Internet Exchange Point.

At present only the British Virgin Islands, Haiti, Grenada, St Maarten, Curacao and Dominica have IXPs. In conjunction with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, PCH is currently assisting several other Caribbean countries, including Barbados, Jamaica and St Kitts and Nevis in establishing local IXPs. PCH is a non-profit research organisation, and the world’s leading implementer of IXPs.