Above: St Vincent and the Grenadines (CJ Photo)
By Gerard Best
Governments of the Eastern Caribbean have taken what could be a significant step toward harmonizing their countries’ investments in telecommunications infrastructure.
A regional project, called the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP), is looking to bridge the gaps in regional broadband communications development.
High-ranking officials from St Lucia, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines are meeting this week with officials from the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to share insights into how each country is tackling the region-wide challenge of developing its telecommunications infrastructure.
The high-level meeting, organized by the CTU as part of CARCIP, is taking place in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4.
“On the surface, the project targets the establishment and improvement of the region’s physical communication networks,” said Selby Wilson, a telecommunications strategist for the CTU. “But the real issue is the major benefit that greater quality and affordability can bring to the region’s governments, health centres, schools, universities, national emergency communications networks and so on.”
CARCIP takes a comprehensive approach to the development of countries’ broadband communications infrastructure.
The World Bank-funded project addresses gaps in submarine cable infrastructure and landing stations, domestic backbone networks and national Internet exchange points (IXPs).
Participants include Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Public Utilities, Physical Development and ICT in Grenada; Philip Dalsou, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting in St Lucia; Roxanne John, CARCIP project coordinator, Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology in the Office of the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines; and Embert Charles, managing director at ECTEL.
“Bringing the territories and the regional institutions together at the table is just the first step,” said Junior McIntyre, project coordinator at the CTU. “The ultimate aim is a comprehensive, region-wide approach to the development of the telecommunications networks of the Caribbean. The lessons that we learn here will be of real value to the entire region.”