CTU PRESS RELEASE
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (22nd December 2020) – At a Special Meeting of the General Conference of Ministers of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) on 21st December 2020, Ministers and many invited guests took the opportunity pay tribute to a true Caribbean stalwart, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, who held the position of Secretary General for seventeen years.
Under her leadership, the CTU’s mission and mandate for telecommunications was expanded to include information and communication technologies (ICT) and its membership broadened to include private sector and civil society organisations. The CTU became a multi-stakeholder organisation and is now at the forefront of activities to harmonise policies and practices for the development of the Caribbean ICT sector. It also established a demonstrated track record for the successful coordination of regional ICT Projects.
Under her stewardship, she established in the Caribbean in 2005, the first internet governance forum, a first in the world.
In his tribute to the former Secretary General, Hon. Melford Nicholas, Minister for Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Information Technology of Antigua and Barbuda and President of the CTU General Conference of Ministers stated, “Bernadette’s contribution to the CTU continuously exceeded all expectations and will stand the test of time.”
He recognised, “Her keen and insightful intellect, her wide-ranging accomplishments and her promotion of ICT for social and economic development within CARICOM and the wider region.” As an example, he added, “Under her stewardship, she established in the Caribbean in 2005, the first internet governance forum, a first in the world.”
In her response, Ms. Lewis credited her success to her faith in God. She further thanked her staff; CTU ICT Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Technical Officers; representatives of private sector and civil society members; and the network of experts and supporters who collaborated and contributed to the success of the work of the organisation.
The former Secretary General made it clear that her and her staff’s passion for the development of the Caribbean has not wavered. She said, “As I leave, I am carrying the Caribbean with me in my heart. I see opportunities for collaboration, for taking the region’s digital transformation vision forward.”
Senator, the Hon. Kay McConney, Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Barbados; Senator, the Hon. Hassel Bacchus, Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, Trinidad and Tobago; and Ms. Wahkeen Murray, Chair of the CTU’s Executive Council and the Chief Technology Director, ICT in the Ministry of Science and Technology of Jamaica also praised the work of the former Secretary General.
Representatives from the Government of Guyana, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), LOON Inc., the Internet Society, civil society and other regional and international entities publicly recognised Ms. Lewis for her passion and commitment to development of the ICT sector in the region.
Ms. Lewis demitted office on 5th August 2020 and now holds the position of Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, which is headquartered in London, England.