The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology, and Public Utilities, in partnership with the Caribbean Telecommunication Union recently held a successful road show in San Ignacio Town. Under the theme, “Harnessing the Power of Innovation - the engine for ICT - enabled Caribbean Development”, the road show brought together many stakeholders in the local Information Technology Sector such as the Belize Linux User Group (www.belizelug.org), a group of Belizeans, who are now gaining an audience for their "Open Source Movement" in the rest of Central America.
Key organizer for the event, Dwight Gillett, spoke to us about the firm ICT potential for Belize, “We want people to have internet like water and light…we are behind the rest of the Caribbean,” he said.
Key presenter for the occasion Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunication Union told the assembled students from the Center for Employment Training, Saint Ignatius High School, Belmopan Comprehensive High and other institutions, that they should grasp the opportunities that the Internet now offers. Lewis stressed that the Internet offered opportunities for communication all over the globe as well as offering ‘information of the ages’ at our fingertips.
“We are hoping, through the road show, in raising the possibilities that technology can transfer lives…we will be able to say with a united voice, we need to have affordable access and embrace it and use it effectively,” she said.
Lewis explained that Governments in the Caribbean were investing heavily in technology but not capitalizing on the full potential.
“Because they did not think about curriculum reform, they did not train the teachers,” she said.
Mrs. Lewis's parting shot was, “The World is taking place online and if you are not interested, you will be left behind.”
Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town, John August was also present for the ICT Road Show and he urged those present to keep updated with technology.
“We live in a world that is constantly changing with technology on a daily basis…we have to be updated with technology,” he said.
The road show also gave an opportunity for the Belize Police Department to showcase their Crime Information Management System (CIMS), which effectively uses open source software to connect the dots in the fight against crime. CIMS stores data for comprehensive research and analysis, providing key actors within the Police Department with salient information, and also offers extrapolation capabilities. CIMS, which is soon to be rolled out for the rest of the country, offers great opportunity to fight crime, connecting seemingly unrelated data.
In ending, Dwight Gillett, thanked the Public Utilities Commission for making the ICT Roadshow to San Ignacio Town and the rest of the country possible. He also thanked the Belize Bank, Fultec, GS-COM and many others for their participation.