Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams returned to the islands last week after attending the 33rdCANTO’s Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic which came to a successful conclusion on Wednesday, July 20, 2017. The four days conference provided an opportunity for the Minister to network with eleven Ministers and one Prime Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications in the region through Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on Policy and Regulations. Coupled with this key note addresses and observation of telecommunications product and services at the trade exhibitions produced a forum to become adept with new developments, trends and innovative technologies regionally as well as globally panel discussions,

Consistent with the theme “Reimagining ICT as a Tool for National Growth and Development” speakers, panelists and feature addresses focused on the relationship, benefits and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) on economies and small Island states. The forum also provided an opportunity to consider the Smart City approach to dealing with current challenges given its potential to deliver to the Caribbean, efficient city governance, high quality public services and New ICT, which it was argued, is the key to a smarter city and a core part of an enhanced production system. It was also noted that Smart City has a huge potential to bring economic value, cultivate safer cities and attract more tourists. The central role of ICT’S in everyday life and business, especially the areas of e-commerce, disaster planning and response, education, and security were also discussed in depth. 

Looking into the future of technology and what it means for the region was also a key objective of the conference. It considered the emergence of LTE and 5G technologies and put forward the view that with all these changes, the role of the Regulators in the region and the general regulatory environment must be revisited.

Speaking of the conference Hon. Williams said; “The 33rd CANTO Conference and Trade Exhibition was a very rewarding experience for me in my role as Minister and I am sure that it was equally rewarding for the operators and regulators in the industry as well. A major take away point for me is that with growing convergence and the emergence of new marks products in the industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands, there is a need to have a national ICT policy which clearly sets our vision, mission and goals on telecommunications (telephone, broadcasting and the internet), infrastructure, markets and access. There are still some communities in the Turks and Caicos that do not receive quality telecommunication service and there are physically challenged persons who we must do our utmost to ensure are able to have access.   Information and communications are fast becoming a human rights issue. They are at the heart of human life and social development and so this important piece of policy development work will be a major undertaking in my Ministry, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

The Minister also congratulated our very own CEO of FLOW, Mrs. Dellarise Hall who was also a panelist and Professor Dr. Gilbert Morris who gave a presentation.

The Minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Transportation and Communication, Mrs. Clara Gardiner OBE, Acting Director of the Telecommunications Commission, Mr. Kenva Williams and Chair of the Telecommunications Commission Mr. Terrence Robinson.

Other participants from the Commission attended parallel training sessions (11th Annual Human Resource Forum and 4th Annual Sales and Marketing and Customer Care Forum) at the conference.