ICT Plays Important Role in Disaster Recovery

ICT Centre

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 11, 2010 (SKNIS): The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a catalyst for the recovery of the earthquake devastated Haiti and its adoption for other disasters were explored at a recent meeting in Grenada.

This was one of the many topics at the 4th Meeting of the Regional ICT Steering Committee held on March 3 and 4. The Committee was created in May 2007 to be a think tank and advise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) /CARIFORUM on issues related to creating an information society and other ICT developments. It is made up of representatives from CARICOM member and associated states, Caribbean regional organizations, the private sector, civil society and other groups.

Wesley Wharton, Director of Technology in St. Kitts told SKNIS that the work of the Steering Committee is almost complete as it has reviewed the Draft ICT Strategy for the Region which will be presented to Heads of Government for approval in the near future.

He noted that the comprehensive document addresses Human Resource Development, Connectivity, Internet Governance, Communication and Content as well as Policy and Regulation.

Mr. Wharton added that he was particularly pleased to learn how the practical application of ICT tools such as satellite phones, the internet and text messaging assisted with the recovery efforts in Haiti in the initial stages of the earthquake.

This was based on presentations by the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other agencies.

Mr. Wharton said the ongoing installation of a fiber optic line should considerably boost the use of ICT in the ongoing recovery and subsequent development of Haiti.

Meanwhile, CARICOM Youth Ambassador (CYA) Ian Richards also of St. Kitts and Nevis highlighted the need to transform the curricula of primary – tertiary level educational institutions to incorporate more ICT related tools.

While presenting on related matters highlighted in the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) Report, Richards cited how ICT can positively impact Education, Labour and Employment, Youth Culture and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

He also mentioned the need to establish a regional accreditation agency so that young people involved in graphics design and other industries can be recognized for their skills and take advantage of job-opportunities for advancement in their chosen fields. CYA Kerry Frank of Grenada supported Richards during the presentation.

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