BASSETERRE, ST. Kitts – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to emphasize the importance of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and has reaffirmed its commitment to further development.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas reported that concrete steps have been taken to realise the goals of building a knowledge- based economy and an e-society through offering universal access to and the use of modern information and communications technologies.
“Our actions in this regard have been guided by the National ICT Strategic Plan that was adopted only a year ago and already we are seeing results,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who boasted that his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Government officially opened a modern state of the art ICT training centre and e-government facility with the assistance of the Government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
He stated that a number of bold initiatives have been launched including the issuance to several civil servants with Government-owned email addresses through which the official business of Government will be conducted.
“My Government is also pleased that we have successfully implemented a modern government portal that provides access to key government departments and information. Included in the suite of services we have made available, is a new Human Resource (HR) package that will be used to professionally manage the human resources of the Public Sector,” said Dr. Douglas.
He disclosed that the new HR package, when placed in the context of the ongoing Public Sector Reform, it will facilitate the transformation of the Public Sector into a modern, responsive and effective operation where public sector employees are further empowered by having access to more timely information.
“In this global internet environment, it is important that countries safeguard their national identity. Like many countries in the Caribbean, we in the Federation are taking control of our internet Country Code Top Level Domain name, used to identify the Federation on the internet,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He added that the opening of the new ICT centre and e-government facility has afforded St. Kitts and Nevis the opportunity to effectively manage this resource for the benefit of its internet community and appealed to the internet community and businesses operating in the Federation to take advantage of this resource by registering their personal business internet presence using the dot KN domain names.
“It is the policy of my Government that all government presence on the World Wide Web must use the dot KN and I encourage all individuals and businesses doing business on the internet to do the same,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that such an initiative “will help to successfully market our destination globally and further illustrate that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is open for business to the entire world.”
Dr Douglas recalled that in the 2007 Budget Address in December last year, he made a commitment to citizens that his Government will continue to develop its human resources by offering training to government employees, teachers in particular, and persons in the wider community to upgrade their ICT skills and build the necessary capacity to function in the knowledge-based society.
“I am delighted to announce that even before the ICT Training Facility was officially opened, training for public servants working in the Ministry of Finance was conducted there. The Centre is open to all citizens of the Federation including those who possess the skills to conduct training for the benefit of others. We encourage our private sector partners to come and utilize the facility for the training of their staff or to offer training to the general public,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Dr. Douglas envisages that the Centre will work very closely with the Ministry of Social Development in designing and implementing training at the community level.
“That is why we are equipping the community centres with computer labs so that relevant training can be delivered to every person in the society who wants to enhance his or her personal ICT skills,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said that the importance of Information and Communications Technologies to the livelihood and competitiveness of St. Kitts and Nevis as a nation cannot be overstated and in an effort to educate the populace on this matter, the Department of Information and Technology will organise a month of activities that will focus the Country’s attention on this important issue.
The highlight of this month of activities will be a Technology Fair, where students, businesses and others in society will be afforded the opportunity to display their technological skills, products and services.
“These new initiatives will build our knowledge base and will continue in the New Year as we seek to create greater awareness of the importance of ICT and deliver more services to the people of this Federation electronically. We are encouraged by the support we have received from the private sector and we look forward to their continued support,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who also disclosed in 2008, his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government will introduce three pieces of legislation that would enhance the legal and regulatory environment for the conduct of electronic transactions, and provide for the protection of computer systems as well as the protection of information used in electronic transactions.
He used the opportunity to express his Government’s sincere thanks and appreciation to the members of the legal fraternity, private sector organizations and members of the business community who contributed to the development of the draft legislations.