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Getting Wired

Mr. Ming addresses the participants.

Cayman's E-Government Advisory Board and representatives of key government services are working to lay the framework for a national initiative. A full week (13-17 December) of information-communication technology (ICT) discussions will lead up to the drafting of national action plans before Christmas.

Attending this week's seminars are representatives of public agencies such as Computer Services, the Department of Education Services, and the Information Commissioner's Office. Some private sector representatives are also participating.

The E-Government Advisory Board is chaired by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ellio Solomon. Other members include Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor and Chief Officer in the Deputy Governor's Office, Mr. Franz Manderson.

While ICT and the application of computer technology in governance is a priority locally, it is also a top consideration for countries around the world.

Commonwealth Secretariat ICT Adviser Tony Ming is leading the local talks. A key player in the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum, Mr. Ming told the Cayman officials, "On a global scale, the priority is implementing national information communication technology strategies and e-government."

Correspondingly, Cayman's E-Government Advisory Board has five primary goals:

  • Developing a National Strategic Plan for the next decade, containing strategies that are essential to realize ICT as a tool for economic and social development.
  • Overseeing a review of government services and recommending those that can be efficiently offered electronically.
  • Recommending international business services that can be offered electronically in an efficient and competitive manner.
  • Developing an implementation strategy.
  • Monitoring the implementation plan.

The main objectives of an official action plan are summarised as follows:

  • To establish a leadership platform for the development and application of ICT, including updating legislation.
  • To manage ICT through a dedicated statutory authority including public/private representatives.
  • To ensure the delivery of state-of-the-art telecommunications at competitive prices, with particular reference to financial services, tourism, and e-commerce.
  • To improve computer literacy amongst the population and enhance affordable public access.
  • To enhance the ICT profession, including developing a training curriculum.
  • To encourage the private sector to use IT and electronic-business to improve local service and enhance global competitiveness.
  • To ensure the public service uses IT to improve customer service and efficiency, as well as allowing easier public access to information and use of electronic forms and documents.
  • To facilitate economic diversification by promoting an environment that encourages the local and international growth of e-business.
  • To provide, in conjunction with the private sector, easily-accessible information for education and community participation, using an inter-island web network.
  • To maximise equality of opportunities through access to ICT and ensure that all citizens can access and use information technology and services.
  • To ensure the confidentiality of personal information, and to formally protect electronic data.

Mr. Ming shared with the local officials that, in a 2006 World Bank ICT survey of 40 countries, almost all listed e-Government as the major priority. Other top-ranking areas were e-Education, e-Business and e-Health.

He noted that this critical public sector development will serve to build capacity and promote the effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions, while strengthening the capacity of areas critical to good governance and sustainable development.

ICT also ties in to the Commonwealth Secretariat's Millennium Development Goals 2015, which include the reduction of extreme poverty, universal education, improved environmental sustainability, and building global partnerships.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian