Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, (May 3rd 2019): “Digitisation is going to save us millions. It’s not that we do not have resources, the question is how we are spending those resources.” So said Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada who participated in a fully immersive simulation of a digitally integrated Caribbean at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, as part of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s (CTU) 30th anniversary week of ICT-related activities, which took place from 29th April to 3rd 2019.
Speaking at the launch of the week-long activities themed “Digital Transformation – Do it!”, Prime Minister Mitchell expressed the need for collaboration in order to grasp the possibilities for efficiency and economies of scale offered by the Single ICT Space proposed by the CTU’s Caribbean FutureScape. “In this technological age, there is absolutely no justification for replicating and duplicating efforts in each our Caribbean islands and expending already scarce resources. If there is one single problem confronting the region, it is that instead of working more together on all issues, we are working in silos.”
He further reiterated, “We need to collaborate while building an independent culture for pursuing our own development. We must own the process.” Of Caribbean FutureScape, the Grenada Prime Minister insisted that “Every CARICOM Head of Government needed to attend Caribbean FutureScape.”
The week’s feature event, Caribbean FutureScapewas a compelling, real-time technology immersion experience that demonstrated the possibilities for free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and the rights of establishment in a Single Market and Economy.
It was designed to create a model region in a controlled environment that allowed citizens to move freely within a borderless space, and experience the speed, efficiency and simplicity of a life in a fully integrated digital Caribbean. Government Ministers and other senior officials, as well as students and members of the general public completed the immersive experience and toured the digital space.
Registered participants were issued a digital passport, bearing a unique digital ID (DID) that enabled them to fully experience life within a more efficient and integrated Caribbean. Participants were able to access services such as business registration locally and in another FutureScape country, accessing hospital medical records online, and purchasing goods and real estate using digital currency. All of the services were enabled by information and communication technologies (ICT). The functions and simulations allowed for a glimpse of the efficiency that a single ICT Space the Caribbean could achieve with appropriate collaboration.
Caribbean Futurescape also provided a platform to highlight collaboration at the private sector business level – by mobilising of technology partners to build Caribbean FutureScape. In her remarks, CTU Secretary General, Ms. Bernadette Lewis stated, “The CTU has demonstrated that collaboration is possible and necessary to accelerate digital transformation in our society.”
Ms. Lewis acknowledged the contributing partners of FutureScape, including diamond sponsor, Huawei, and other sponsors, TSTT/bmobile, Digicel, Cable& Wireless Communications, EY, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and many others.
Caribbean FutureScape generated much excitement amongst participants. Regional Ministers have endorsed this initiative and have requested this model of immersive technology experience to be brought to their respective countries.
About the CTU:
The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to supporting the development of the Caribbean information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. The CTU also promotes coordination of ICT at the regional level, identifies and removes roadblocks to ICT development, keeps track of industry progress and responds to the needs of the ICT sector, all with the aim of creating a cohesive regional approach to an ICT agenda which embraces the needs of all stakeholders. The CTU is committed to ICT development that reaches the citizens of the region, creating affordable access to ICT and helping citizens to use ICT effectively to transform their lives.