Jamaica has far to go in the development of its ICT sector, but right now, in the eyes of five delegates from St. Kitts and Nevis, the third largest island in the Caribbean is model material.
From May 10-14, 2010, the delegates from the Information and Communication Technology for Improving Education, Diversification and Competitiveness (ICT4EDC) Project, St. Kitts and Nevis toured parts of Jamaica to observe the way ICTs are used in the development process.
Several months ago the Chair of Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) Jamaica, Elizabeth Terry, attended a policy course in the Dominican Republic, where she met Telly Onu, an ICT4D Expert. Through this relationship, Ms. Onu, presently Networking and Communications Specialist on the EU Funded ICT4EDC project for St. Kitts and Nevis, expressed an interest in ICT4D Jamaica facilitating a five day study tour for delegates from St. Kitts and Nevis. The aim was gaining practical learning experiences and good practices, in order to better sensitize key decision makers in St. Kitts and Nevis on information society development. The tour also served to provide information on the operations, governance structure and Networking practices of ICT4D Jamaica as a driver of ICT4D in the country.
Beyond a three day workshop facilitated at the Hotel Four Seasons, the tour involved travel to corporate area sites such as the St. Andrew Parish Office of RADA, Belle Tropicals Limited, and the Technology Innovation Center(TIC) at UTECH. Out of parish site visits included Mervin Jarman’s Container Project in Clarendon, and the solar and wind powered JET FM 88.8 Radio Station run by the Jeffery Town Farmers Association in St. Mary. Delegates also got an opportunity to hear from individuals such as Carlton Samuels, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies and Manager for Academic International Relations at the Caribbean Knowledge Learning Network (CKLN), Richard Gordon from the Ministry of Mining and Energy, and Gary Campbell from the OPM, on topics related to Jamaica’s ICT policies and sector plan.
ICT4D Jamaica, the facilitator of the Study Tour ensured that the delegates received as much information as possible during the five day visit. The organization went as far as to have overseas members of its board lead workshop presentations and participate in discussions by video call, via the popular voice over internet protocol (VOIP) communication software, Skype. On Day 3 of the Study Tour, the delegation as well as the Chair of ICT4D Jamaica and a member of its Secretariat participated in an interview with Toni of the ‘Breakfast with Toni’ Programme on popular St. Kitts and Nevis radio station Winn FM 989, to discuss the objectives of the tour and the programme agenda.
The 5 day visit ended with a social gathering at the residence of Elizabeth Terry, Chair of the ICT4D Jamaica board, and Director of Projects and Partnerships at the HEART Trust/NTA. At the end of the tour, Christopher Herbert said, “My view of the integration of ICTs in the public sector has been vastly expanded… I feel that others can benefit from the mistakes made [as well as the] major strides taken by Jamaica in integration of ICTs…”
The lessons learned by the delegates should assist them in mainstreaming ICTs across sectors and ministries within St. Kitts and Nevis.
Source (ICT4D Jamaica)