Nassau, Bahamas – Remarks By Senator The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, QC at The Bahamas Third Observance Of The ITU’s International Girls in ICT Day Thursday April 27, 2017 at Melia Resort, Cable Beach:
Mr. Randol Dorsett, chairman of the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority, Mr. Leon Williams president and members of his senior team from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC); John Gomez Chief Operating Officer members of Cable Bahamas Ltd, Damian Blackburn CEO, BeAliv Ltd and other senior staff, teachers, students invited guests, organizing team.
Since its launch 3 years ago, this day, International Girls in ICT Day, has been marked as a “must do” on my calendar. International Telecommunication union (ITU) is celebrated in member states around the world to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The Government celebrates the fact that the ITU has named The Bahamas the ITU’s first “smart Island city”. The ITU recognizes and celebrates, as we do, the crucial advances that have been made in the ICT sector.
The Registrar General’s department has made significant advances. Companies can be incorporated online and certified copies of documents obtained at Administrators’ Offices on the Family Islands. As you will have seen births can now be registered in the Family Islands also. Many Family Islands are represented here today. It is important for all Bahamians to obtain government services in the Family Islands. So, now when you know that the mobile passport unit is coming to your Island, you can obtain necessary documents and your passport without leaving home – there is no need to come to Nassau.
The Ministry of Financial Services has launched a Trade Portal to enhance and support our efforts to ease the process of doing business in The Bahamas. It is the first initiative of its kind in The Bahamas and one of only a few Trade Information Portals in the Caribbean Region. I urge you to visit it and use it as you make decisions about possible entrepreneurial ventures.
When I spoke to the young ladies last year, we still operated in a mobile market that had only one provider. Today you have a choice of mobile service providers. You can go to BTC or you can go to Aliv. And you have number portability.
We are pleased with the progress we have made to ensure that all schools are equipped with computer labs and that they have efficient and consistent connectivity. Schools in our family islands such as Cat Island are incorporating live online sessions to support traditional teaching methods.
Telemedicine is integrated into our healthcare system. Our relationships with the University of Miami hospital system and medical school has been enhanced so that, using telemedicine, it is possible for diagnoses to be made and treatment suggested between Nassau or Miami and the Family Islands. Of course, NHI will make full use of this. Telemedicine is one of those areas that will be addressed today by Dr. Desiree Cox, consultant with the Public Hospital Authority.
I have given a few examples ICT advances in The Bahamas. There is a tremendous reliance on ICT in every profession. Government services are available online from across The Bahamas. You can access those services and communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, using BTC or ALIV. You can pursue your dream from any Island in The Bahamas. The door to the world is open to you.
That is why forums such as this one, organized by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority, in conjunction with major licensees in the electronic communications sector, are so important. You will get the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the most outstanding females in different areas of ICTs. Take advantage of the opportunities to meet the pioneering professional women whose jobs rely heavily on the use of Information Communication Technologies. Use this opportunity to get as much information as you can from them, speak with the various exhibitors and I hope if you have not already done so that you will consider a job in the ICT sector.
It is the fastest growing sector worldwide. Colleges are not producing enough graduates with ICT related degrees to meet the growing demand. Today less than 30% of the jobs created in this sector are held by females. Once you are qualified in this sector you will never be without a job.
I want to congratulate URCA, who leads this initiative and all the other licensees who have partnered to ensure the success of this event. Special recognition is due to the executives of all of the other partners for buying into the vision to promote the use of ICTs; access to ICTs and most importantly to encourage you young people to be creators of ICTs.
I wish you an exciting day as you journey with these wonderful women professionals into the vast and wide world of technology.
It is my pleasure to declare this symposium open.