A message from Minister McDonald on World Telecommunications and Information Society Day 2019

Minister of Public Administration the Honourable Marlene McDonald

On May 17th annually, Trinidad and Tobago joins with fellow member states of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in celebrating World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD). This year holds extra significance, as the 193 Member States of the Union will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the recognition of this Day, the purpose of which aims to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. Every year a topical theme is chosen, and this year’s selection, “Bridging the Standardisation Gap”, is particularly apropos for us here in Trinidad and Tobago, as it highlights and will help to sustain the hard work currently underway in this very area in our country.

Bridging disparities has long been a key component of this Government’s agenda, whether across economic, social or digital lines. In order to achieve our developmental goals as articulated in our National Development Strategy, Vision 2030, we must strive to attain standards that provide for a common basis for growth and innovation. To this end, I am happy that we have been actively participating in the ITU standards-making process and promoting the implementation of international standards, and will continue to do so assiduously.

As Minister of Public Administration, under which the National ICT Agenda falls, I am proud of the collaborative spirit that has defined our work in the ICT sector, and standardisation is no exception. To this end, we are already making strides to narrow the gap by developing standards to support the implementation of our National ICT Plan, the ICT Blueprint (2018 – 2022). With the expertise of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), we are coordinating the development of national standards, specifically in the area of Information Security Management Systems. These standards will go a long way towards regulating the ICT sector by assisting organisations in managing IT risks and ensuring business continuity.

On an international level, the adoption of standards focusing on ICT security and cloud technology is in train, even as we work to revise those already in existence.

Linking national policy, legislation, technical regulation and standards, is the work of our regulating agency, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT). We continue to make progress working with them towards the development of standards for the regulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting sector.

In the same vein of collaboration, the Ministry along with TATT, TTBS, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will work together on an initiative towards standardising conformity and interoperability (C&I) testing throughout the Caribbean. The pilot of this initiative will be tested in Trinidad and Tobago.

Today, the celebration of WTISD reminds us that Trinidad and Tobago is but a small, developing state in a large global playing field. It also encourages us to keep forging ahead with the assistance of our fellow member states, and our willing partners here at home, to ensure that this playing field is fair, standardised and that our citizens have access to, and can confidently contribute to, all that technology has to offer on a global scale.

Happy 50th Anniversary of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day!

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