Below is our recent interview with Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General at Caribbean Telecommunications Union:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Caribbean Telecommunications Union?
A: The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) is an inter-governmental organization that is responsible for the development of the Caribbean ICT Sector.
Q: You’ve recently celebrated the CTU’s 30th anniversary; could you tell us something more?
A: The CTU fostered and supported the development of telecommunications since 1989. Because the rapid pace of technological innovation precipitated the convergence of the formerly distinct disciplines of telecommunications and information technologies, the CTU is now addressing both of these disciplines as information and communication technologies (ICT).
The CTU is constantly repositioning itself and starting new initiatives to remain relevant and serve its stakeholders better. One such initiative, Caribbean FutureScape, was inaugurated at our 30th Anniversary.
Q: Were your objectives met through this initiative?
A: Yes indeed. The CTU Secretariat has staged many ICT conferences in the past and we recognised that the attention of delegates is more and more divided between devices and speakers. So instead of having speakers lecture to delegates about technology, we wanted participants to experience the transformation that could take place with the application of technology in the activities of everyday Caribbean life. We built a futuristic completely digital space, Caribbean FutureScape, where technologies were applied to everyday challenges to solve problems and to demonstrate the speed and efficiencies that could be realised in the delivery of government services, education, health and many ordinary life circumstances. We also demonstrated that a digital Caribbean was indeed within our reach.
Q: How were you able to bring technology partners together to build Caribbean FutureScape?
A: The technology partners understood the important role that they need to play in regional digital transformation and saw the benefits of demonstrating the effective use of their technologies, so they willingly accepted the CTU’s invitation to be part of Caribbean FutureScape.
Q: What is required to establish 21st Century Government in the Caribbean?
A: Strong leadership is required at the highest levels of Government along with a commitment to provide the needed resources and a willingness to collaborate with other Caribbean governments.
Q: What are your predictions for the Caribbean if Governments do not drive digital transformation?
A: The region would be left behind. It would be unattractive to potential investors and the citizens would not be able to benefit from ICT-enabled services or leverage the potential of ICT.
Q: What does the future hold for Caribbean FutureScape?
A: We will be taking Caribbean FutureScape to other Caribbean countries.
Q: What is the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF)? What is the objective of it?
A: The Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF) is a regional, multi-stakeholder forum initiated in 2005 to coordinate a regional approach to Internet Governance. The CIGF is the longest running Internet Governance Forum in the world.
Q: What are your core principles?
A: Let’s talk, think, plan but above all ACT with integrity to ensure that all citizens of the Caribbean can benefit from ICT.
Q: What can we expect from CTU in the future?
A: Great things! Keep your eye on the CTU. Our focus will be on Caribbean Digital Transformation – making it happen!