JAMAICA'S USF PROVIDES $430 MILLION FOR ICT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
The Universal Service Fund (USF of) Jamaica has provided nearly $430 million in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure development support for several tertiary institutions over the past four years. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Hugh Cross, says this entailed the installation of broadband Internet service and state-of-the-art equipment, among other key inputs. The Universal Service Fund, which falls under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, is a statutory agency established by Government to assist with the rapid deployment of Internet services and support infrastructure.
Speaking of the USF's contribution of $200M to the UWI Open Campus Dr. Cross told Jamaica's Information Service (JIS) that the intervention transforms the open campuses to world class facilities, which would also have impact to students living outside of Kingston who access them.
Dr. Cross also pointed out that $144 million was allocated for the provision of new state-of-the-art simulators at the Caribbean Maritime Institute’s (CMI) main campus at Palisadoes Park in Kingston.
The institute was facing the prospect of decertification by the International Maritime Organization, because some of their key equipment, primarily simulators, which are critical to the academic programme, were deemed outdated.
Dr. Cross stated that as a result of the USF’s intervention, “they now have modern simulators which rival the best anywhere in the world”. The intervention included the provision of a 125-kilowatt solar-energy system to ensure there is a dedicated and stable power supply to operate the equipment.
CXC LAUNCHES GREEN ENGINEERING SYLLABUS IN GUYANA
Giving an overview of the syllabus at the launch held at the Theatre Guild, Georgetown, subject panel member, was Dr. Paulette Bynoe. Dr. Bynoe said the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Green Engineering course has two units- Introduction to Green Engineering and Application of Green Engineering and Principles
Some of the modules studied include, concepts and issues, Theoretical Framework of Green Engineering and Green Engineering in Practice, the utilization of sustainable materials and energy, sustainable designs and green engineering solutions and the environmental consequences of using different energy sources.
Dr. Paulette Bynoe. said the syllabus has been designed in such a way to ensure that the focus is not only students’ ability to recall, with the focus being knowledge and comprehension, application of knowledge and practical ability.
“This allows students to really exercise their problem solving and critical thinking skills -very important for engineering- so it is not a case where a student will cram and pass the exam. We don’t need that sort of thing. The knowledge is important but we have to begin to transcend the knowledge if we are going to make a decision in the world today,” she said.
CODE OF PRACTICE ON SAFEGUARDING THE OPEN INTERNET SIGNED AT CANTO 2016
SAN JUAN -- Day one of the ongoing CANTO 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition which is taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from July 31st - August 5th was full of thought provoking and forward thinking discussions, presentations and panels.
One notable event coming out of the days proceeding's was the signing ceremony of a Voluntary Code of Practice on Safeguarding the Open Internet. Chairman of CANTO, Julian Wilkins speaking after the signing said: "the region continues to grapple with the changing landscape of ICT, the signing of the Code is important as through CANTO it provides a unified approach which is sometimes needed, as
compared to individual approaches." He added that, "CANTO will continue to facilitate individual assistance as well as regional approach to ICT issues when and where needed".
Digicel's Denis O'Brien, delivered a feature address as part of the morning session, which touched a number of burning topics now engaging the region's ICT agenda including Net Neutrality and safeguarding the Open Internet.
Day one also included a panel on Converged Regulation, sessions entitled "Technology on Steroids - Living in a Modern World"; "Strengthening Cooperation Between Telecoms Operators and National Disaster Offices"; Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness" and "Modernizing Regulatory Frameworks".
Founded in 1985 as a non-profit association of 8 telephone operating companies,CANTO is recognized as the leading trade association of the ICT sector for shaping information and communication in the Caribbean. CANTO has now grown to over 120 members in more than 31 countries.
CUFFIE CALLS FOR CARIBBEAN ICT SOLUTIONS
Trinidad and Tobago's Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie made the call for solutions tailor-made to meet the Information Communication Techology (ICT) needs of the Caribbean. He made the call at CANTO's 32nd annual Conference and Trade Exhibition being held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As a panelist on the first Ministerial Roundtable of the Conference Minister Cuffie - according to a press release from his Ministry - acknowledged the varied membership of CANTO including major international telecommunications/ ICT providers who had a significant presence in the Caribbean Region.
He called upon these providers to make a greater effort in developing solutions that meet the specific needs of Caribbean countries and urged them to avoid pre-packaged solutions that may have been utilized elsewhere and which had not resulted in expected benefits despite significant investments on the part of Governments.
Government Of Guyana & GTT Announces Cree Access To Basic 4G Services
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Telecommunication, Deryck Cummings, and Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GTT) Chief Commercial Officer, Gert Post, were present at the launch of the GTT’s “Free Basic 4G Services”.
This initiative was developed by GTT and is designed to give people free 4G access to information from more than 20 local and international sites including Wikipedia, Educationgy.org, Guyana Learning Channel.com, google.gy, gina.gov.gy and all major news sites in Guyana. This service is now exclusively available to all GTT mobile users across Guyana.
To access the free sites, users just need a data capable phone (feature or smart phone) to start browsing. An active data plan is not necessary. Chief Commercial Officer, Gert Post, noted that “as 4G is now available in Guyana, GTT wants to ensure that everyone can freely benefit from this new technology by being able to use the web for education, information, check the weather and to access the information of the Government of Guyana. That’s part of our commitment of doing more for developing Guyana.”
The Caribbean Urged To Address Cyber-Security And Information Security Issues
Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie says the region needs to address issues related to cyber-security and information security to build confidence in investors and citizens.
In an address at the opening of a regional conference – “Exploring Innovation in Transactions and Financing the Caribbean” on Wednesday, Cuffie said as the internet and technological advances continue to reshape the way business is done the reality of increased economic crime continues to have a serious impact on the economy .
He told regional representatives that bearing this in mind cyber-security legislation and the proclamation of the Electronic Transactions Act and the Data Protection Act are back on the agenda as key deliverables of his Ministry.
Cuffie continued, “There is no doubt therefore, that increasingly, greater attention will have to be paid to the potential of cyber-crime on the financial systems.”
“The question for us in the Caribbean is simply this: are we truly equipped to deal with the modern versions of cyber-crime? Moreover, how can we, using the ITU and ECLAC position ourselves in such a way that any such threat to the financial services sector in the region can be met with the requisite level of resistance?”
Former PM Owen Arthur Calls For Creation Of A 'Cyber City'
The creation of Smart Cyber City at Warrens, was among a number of ideas offered by former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur to boost economic growth, as he addressed the annual general meeting of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre.
Arthur appealed to the Government and the private sector to create Smart Cyber City to promote IT services to advance economic growth. Arguing that information technology must be one of the pillars of economic growth, the now Independent MP insisted that the Smart City would provide state-of-the-art facilities for advanced software promotion for IT-enabled services on par with the best in the world.
He cited Mauritius as having already undertaken a similar endeavour and said that it is not difficult to conceive how the Warrens area and the corridor including the UWI Cave Hill, could be made our Cyber City.
“Indeed, the Cave Hill Campus needs to be built out as a township and equipped with a Science Park to serve as Barbados’ link to the Global Technological community,” said Arthur, who served as Prime Minister between 1994 and early 2008.
Jamaican Parents Urged To Monitor Children's Use Of Social Media
Superintendent Merrick Watson, who was addressing a Community Services Day event at the Kitson Town Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Catherine informed parents that the police often scour social networking sites such as Facebook for information about applicants.
The Superintendent of Police, appealed for parents to monitor their children’s activity on social media. He said that young people are posting personal information online, which could taint their character and prevent them from accessing jobs.
“There are persons, who are taking away their employment prospects and losing out because of things that they post on social media. Anything that you post (online) remains there forever,” he pointed out.
“They don’t know that they cannot hide anything that we can’t find. The only thing that you can hide, that we will never be able to find is what you have not posted,” he told the congregation.
Superintendent Watson also warned that persons are also making themselves victims of crime by posting too much information about their movements on social media.
T-Mobile Signs Cuba Roaming Deal
T-Mobile has signed an interconnect and roaming agreement with
Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Cuba, SA (ETECSA), the Cuban telecommunications company.
The new deal enables the carrier to do its part to open communications between the US and the island nation, delivering more affordable voice calling for customers who want to keep in touch with friends and family in Cuba, as well as voice, text and data roaming for customers traveling to Cuba starting this summer.
“The historic opening of Cuba is a natural opportunity for us to take action, and we are. That’s the Un-carrier way!” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “We have more customers of Cuban descent than any other wireless provider – so connecting them with family and friends in Cuba is a message we heard loud and clear!”
Easy Money Solutions For Jamaicans
QUISK, a Silicon Valley mobile-payment company, and Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) - Jamaica's transaction-processing provider, have partnered to provide mobile money solutions for Jamaica and the Caribbean.
David Koerner, QUISK director of marketing, gave a demonstration at the National Commercial Bank Tech Symposium held at the Terra Nova Hotel recently.
The mobile money solution was designed by Jamaicans to assist the Jamaican market. According to the World Bank Foreign Direct Investment report of 2015, up to 65 per cent of Jamaicans are 'underbanked' or 'unbanked' despite one of the highest number of open accounts in the region and a 95 per cent mobile penetration.
There are some key benefits for unbanked and underbanked customers, including an easy-sign-up process requiring minimal personal information. The mobile money solution works on any network carrier in the island and can be accessed on smart phones, iPods, tablets or the computer.
Guyana's E-Governance Unit Gets Boost From India and China
The E-Governance Unit within the Ministry of Public Telecommunications has received a boost from the Governments of India and China. The boost came in the form of specialised training in several areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to further strengthen the capacity of the Unit.
Mr. Kyle Craig, an Assistant ICT Engineer in the Infrastructure Department of the Unit, recently returned from India, after spending two months at the Centre for Excellence in Telecommunications and Technology Management (CETTM). The training was made possible under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), which exists between that country and the Government of Guyana.
The other staffers benefiting from the training courses in India were Mr. Hillhier Emptage, Mr. Devon Abrams and Ms. Asena Marques. The team that is preparing to depart for China later this month will undergo two months’ training.
Head of the unit, Mr. Levi said that he expects that the knowledge and skills gained from those training sessions, will be passed on to the other departments in the organisation, so that the vision of a high performance organisation that serves as the ICT vanguard for the delivery of efficient Government services across the Public Sector, can become a reality.
Twenty Five Caribbean Companies Vie For Pitch-It Challenge
The PitchIT Caribbean Challenge, is a Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship competition and produced by the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Programme (CMIP). The PitchIT Caribbean Challenge takes place in Montego Bay, Jamaica 3rd to 5th June, 2016. It was announced that 25 Caribbean Startup teams will be vying for US$5000 in seed funding and a spot in one of four PitchIT Caribbean Accelerators.
Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago both have 9 Startups participating, 3 Bajan Startups are represented and the remaining Caribbean startups come from Guyana, Dominica, St Kitts and St Lucia. The startups bring to the competition ideas ranging from Mobile Heath/mHealth, Machine Learning, Online Market Places to eLearning, Mobile Money and Mobile Gaming Apps.
Mobile Penetration In Dominica Drops By 34 Percent
Director of Telecommunications, Bennet Thomas, has announced a drop in mobile penetration rate in Dominica from 143 percent in 2013 to 107 percent in 2015.
According to him, many Dominicans have benefited from quality jobs in the ICT sector, stating “The country has seen a mobile penetration rate of a 143 percent in 2013 and by the way, we have gotten a drop to 107 percent in 2015, however fixed broadband penetration in the same period has increased from 14.7 percent to 20.9 percent,” he said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark Digicel's 10th Anniversary in Dominica, he challenged Digicel, together with other players in the telecoms sector, to work collaboratively with the government through the recent initiative of establishing a broadband strategy for the country, “to significantly seek to increase the broadband penetration to at least 95 percent by January 2017.”
“It sounds like a very aggressive agenda but it can be done because if you know Dominica well we have actually three players on the ground, all of them seem to have a fibre network around the country, so when we say a 95 percent broadband penetration rate that is possible by 2017,” Thomas stated.
He further stated that it will not be far fetched should the government anticipate even greater benefits to consumers, “whether in reduction in per minute charges, termination of roaming rates both locally and regionally and continued investment in national developmental activities and projects.”
Cyber Crimes Up In Jamaica As Social Media Popularity Increases, Say Police
Head of the Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Inspector Warren Williams is warning Jamaicans to be mindful of the information they post as it can be manipulated by criminal elements online.
Williams says cyber-defamation, where individuals use social media to post false and demeaning information about others is on the rise in Jamaica. Williams says relationships are a breeding ground for these crimes and females are the usual victims.
He says it is difficult for the police to arrest those who commit cyber defamation because the offense isn't a criminal one. Meanwhile, Williams says Jamaica has also seen an increase in cyber extortion, where individuals are forced to pay for the removal of photographs which were illegally uploaded to pornographic websites.
Williams also named revenge porn as another major cyber related crime which has been on rise. Inspector Williams says since January his office has received about 15 reports of cyber-related crimes.
However, he says he believes that these crimes are under reported.
Stem Carib 2016 Conference Open For Registration
Practitioners in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are being invited to attend STEM Carib in The Cayman Isles.
STEM Carib provides a unique opportunity for members of local, regional and international academic communities and industry experts to collaborate, network and expand their horizons for professional growth. Filled with a plethora of presentations from education and industry leaders, the conference will help attendees explore new and exciting content and techniques in STEM education, discover current trends in the field, and spark interest among the youth.
The event will table place in October and interested persons should see the link in the show notes.
Trainers Soon To Receive Training At Dominica's ICT Centre For Excellence
A team from India is currently in Dominica to accelerate the delivery of training at the ICT Centre for Excellence at the Dominica State College.
The centre for the development of information communication technology is the collaboration between the Indian Government and the Dominica State College.
The Hon. Minister for ICT, Kelver Darroux told a National Broadband Consultation, “The Indian team is expected to be here for two years undertaking a training programme for trainers. Ten goals have been proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network directed by the Broadband Commission to further enhance the development of broadband services.”
He continued, “These goals include bringing an end to extreme poverty and hunger; ensuring effective learning for children and youth for life and livelihood; achieving health and well-being at all ages, and improving agriculture systems while raising prosperity for all under-served areas in our respective communities."
Cayman's Cabinet Gives $1 Million To New Cyber-Security Initiative
Interpol and GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s surveillance organization, have visited Cayman over the past six months to help the country develop a new plan for cybersecurity, Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts revealed Wednesday in the Legislative Assembly.
He said government invited the two agencies separately to help develop a plan to protect information and infrastructure in Cayman from malicious hackers. Government created a new working group to tackle cyber security issues, dubbed the CIG Cyber Team, and set aside $1 million to begin funding the initiative, Mr. Tibbetts said.
“These islands have become a target for cyber criminals,” Mr. Tibbetts said on the floor of the House.He noted that government received the report from Interpol in February and a plan for information security from the CIG team. Mr. Tibbetts said the Information and Communications Technology Authority invited Interpol.
Representatives from the international policing organization also met with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and other organizations.
Cabinet is also seeking to develop a plan to bring the Cayman Islands government up to international standards to protect critical infrastructure from hackers and to manage cyber security risks.
ECTEL Council Of Ministers Approves New Legislation
Dominica's Telecommunications Minister, Hon Darroux says broadband and ICT are critical to the process of developing both human and institutional capacity to take full advantage of ever emerging technological trends.
“At the 33rd ECTEL Council of Ministers Meeting in St.Lucia, the Council gave approval for the Electronic Communication Bill to be approved. This is a Bill which will replace the Telecommunications Act of 2000 which is outdated.
“The telecoms sector is very diverse and dynamic and therefore amendments had to be made...to ensure greater flexibility in the telecommunication sector,” he explained.