Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mitchell to chair COTED meeting

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ST GEORGE’S – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell will chair a special meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Friday.

Mitchell has lead responsibility for Science and Technology as well as ICT in the quasi CARICOM Cabinet, and a statement from the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said that the meeting will be convened via video conference and will focus on crafting an effective policy response for CARICOM digital transformation post the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“COVID-19 has disrupted and impacted almost all sectors critical to the CARICOM region. The special COTED ICT meeting will continue a discussion started last November on ways in which digital transformation can be fast-tracked in the region,” the Secretariat said.

It said that over the past weeks, meetings of critical sectors – Education, Agriculture, Security, Trade and Transport, for example – have taken place in CARICOM and that the “COTED ICT will also review how to support these and other sectors as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan and the continued development of the CARICOM Single ICT Space”.

The Secretariat recalled that a meeting of ICT officials on May 20 laid the groundwork for the Ministerial session, noting that Finley Jeffrey, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT in Grenada, had told the officials meeting that CARICOM had to find home-grown solutions to support its rebuilding and resilience efforts, particularly when consideration is given to the fact that ICT and the internet will power or underpin those efforts.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Joseph Cox, told officials that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted, even more, the need for strategic digital transformation initiatives – especially for the CARICOM region – which needed to be implemented as soon as possible.

He acknowledged that some of the issues were not new, but that there were some glaring possibilities that included exacerbating and widening the digital and education divides which could have far-reaching negative repercussions for CARICOM, if they were not tackled strategically. (CMC)

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