San Juan , 01/08/16 – If the opening ceremony is to be an indication of what is to be achieved by the end of the Conference, the Caribbean is in good hands and ICT will continue to be a major pillar for future development. This is CANTO’s 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition and it is currently taking place at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino from July 31st – August 5th.
General Secretary, Teresa Wankin in addressing the gathering of esteemed attendees at the opening ceremony promised: “over the next four days…a program, inclusive of two feature addresses; five keynotes; two ministerial panels; three capacity building workshops and participation by over twenty industry experts”.
The Exhibition which also opened yesterday included over 50 exhibitors and has become a staple. The hackathon aimed at developing and showcasing some of the region’s upcoming talent is also taking place. This year the theme of the conference is “Building an entrepreneurial ecosystem through sustainable strategic partnerships” and based on the spectrum of Caribbean ICT stakeholders present, the days are set to be filled with exciting dialogue.
The feature speaker, Hon. Alvin Dabreo, spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon Keith Mitchell. Speaking to CANTO’s theme, Dabreo emphasized that “If we are to build an ecosystem that is truly sustainable, we must start the ‘innovation renaissance’, where governments, business, academia and citizens can interact to foster creative and bold thinking and a flexible, dynamic, stimulating and enabling environment…”.
Chairman of CANTO, Julian Wilkins gave the audience a preview of the level of power present at the Conference this year. “I am happy to announce that we have 12 ICT Ministers in attendance; over 40 Regulators from 16 countries and 33 network operators with more than 100 senior executives. Indeed, this is a historic event with two of the most powerful men in communications in this region – speaking at this event: Denis O’Brien, Chairman of Digicel Group and John Reid, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Cable & Wireless Communications.”
The Chairman heaped praises on the various working committees and the CANTO staff for their ongoing work to make the event success and also to the Board for their continued passionate work in service of the institution and the region.
In closing, the Chairman quoted Mark Twain who wrote: “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” He urged participants to “explore, dream, discover over the next few days at this conference and exhibition.”
Headline sponsor of the event is Huawei and the president of Huawei Technologies Caribbean – Stephen Ma also addressed the opening and gave valuable insight about his company and some of the global work which they are doing and which they intend to undertake in the region.
Remarks were also delivered by Javier Rua Jovet, Chairman of the regulatory Board of Puerto and to ensure delegates got a warm welcome to San Juan, there was also a cultural performance Grupo Folklorico Gibaro. When the formalities were over all delegates were invited to view the exhibition and enjoy more live entertainment and cocktails.