Via a National ICT Plan, the Government of Saint Lucia intends to boost access to ICT, islandwide.
Minister for the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, Sen. Hon. Dr. James Fletcher, said government has a duty to bridge the island’s digital divide and improve access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The minister, speaking at the launch of Saint Lucia’s first ever ICT fair said: “The Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting consulted with various stakeholders and came up with a National ICT Plan and Policy that would guide the development of the ICT sector over the next few years. In addition, under the stewardship of the Minister for Commerce, Hon. Emma Hippolyte, a National E-Commerce and Action plan has also been developed.”
One of government’s challenges, however, is the lack of internet penetration in certain parts of the island.
“We have a very serious digital divide in Saint Lucia and that has serious implications for government with respect to government’s ability to be able to deliver services via the internet. It also has very serious implications with respect to that level playing field which you would want because the internet really provides a very important medium for people to access information, communicate with each other, and access learning opportunities; so if you have a situation where in Saint Lucia the residents of Canaries are only benefitting from 15 percent internet penetration then clearly they are at a disadvantage compared to those who live in Cap Estate and Bonne Terre and Rodney Bay.”
The ICT fair, currently underway, aims to increase the public’s awareness of ICT trends and government’s efforts to facilitate an ICT enabled economy.
The fair is being hosted in conjunction with The Caribbean Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (CARCIP).
The week’s activities also include, an Innovation Night on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and a hack-a-thon on Wednesday at 9 a.m.