CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 8, 2010) — The Nevis Island Administration [NIA] has been focused on building an information, communication and technological environment for the youth.
So said Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications and Information Technology in the NIA, the Honourable Hensley Daniel, at Tuesday’s youth forum on Information and Communications Technology [ICT]. The forum, held at the Nevis Cooperative Credit Union Conference Room in Charlestown formed part of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority’s [ECTEL] tenth anniversary celebrations.
Minister Daniel, in his address, said that his administration recognized the need to be part of an ICT approach to development and [he] seized the opportunity to mention some of the NIA’s initiatives, including building a culture of reading, in that regard.
“In building this culture of reading, we have recently completed a series of programmes under a project called “Reading Starts With Us” where we got the parents of the preschool children to read with their preschoolers. That way, we are nurturing a culture of reading and if at age three and four and five they can read then you can throw them the computer,” Daniel said.
The telecommunication Minister also spoke of the various computer programmes that were started as “a tool for education and development” on Nevis.
“We have computer training at all the primary schools in Nevis and teachers are assigned to teach computers at primary and secondary schools. We are also dealing with the development of ICT centres.
“At the moment, there are centres in Hanley’s Road, Bath, Brown Pasture and over at Brickiln we have computers where we can facilitate computer training,” Daniel said.
In speaking about the furtherance of the ICT development regime, Minister Daniel highlighted the NIA’s immediate plans to reform the island’s community centres.
“We are building five of them before the year is finished and all of them are to be equipped with ICT facilities so that students, younger people [and] older people will be able to use them,” he said.
Under the theme “Elevating the Quality of Telecommunication and ICT Services in the Member States” ECTEL’s Managing Director, Embert Charles said his company has made it easier for telecommunications businesses to be established.
“One of the greatest benefits about the establishment of ECTEL in the Eastern Caribbean is that it has made the telecommunications sector a liberalized sector. It means anybody who has the means can offer a service,” he said.
While addressing the students, Charles described ECTEL as a unique organization with benefits in place specifically for eastern Caribbean islands.
“It is the only regulatory agency in the world that regulates services in five sovereign independent countries. Nowhere else this happens and it is because our governments decided a few years ago to come together and allow a central agency called ECTEL, which is based in St. Lucia, to provide legal and technical advice to these five countries in certain areas of telecommunication services,” he explained.
The forum encouraged young persons to make use of information and communications technology for their personal development.
Following the May 4th 2000 signing of the regulatory treaty, ECTEL has been regulating the telecommunications sector in the member states of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.