The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is seeking closer contact, co-operation and support with the Government of India to further its broadband services through the Indian Technical Economic Co-operation (ITEC). This was revealed by Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan. She was at a function to mark ITEC Day on Friday at the residence of the Indian High Commissioner. “A critical element for the building of a knowledge-based economy is widespread access to affordable high speed broadband services throughout the country. Currently, the Government is exploring different infrastructural development initiatives which have been successfully utilised in other jurisdictions to facilitate the penetration of broadband services throughout Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.
“The implementation of an enhanced broadband strategy and plan will involve a public-private partnership (PPP) approach, the deployment of incentives aimed at encouraging foreign and domestic investment and the utilisation of Universal Service Funding for access ‘build-out’ in uneconomic or un-served areas,” she said. Among those addressing the function were acting president of the Senate, Senator Lyndira Oudit, Hon Ruben Meade, Premier of Monsterrat, chief secretary of Tobago House of Assembly Orville London and Indian High Commissioner Shri Malay Mishra.
The Government of T&T is committed to a pro-competition policy in the delivery of services, and in this regard, is moving forward with urgency towards the strengthening of the legislative framework to ensure regulatory oversight of competition issues with a view to encouraging healthy competitive behaviour, Seepersad-Bachan added. She referred to the Government of India White Paper publication Broadband to Panchayats of August 2010 that the Government of India is working to Empower the 250,000 Panchayats (village councils) in Rural India by “democratising information” for transparency, accountability, collaborations, training, management and decentralised decision-making.
“I understand that these Panchayats perform a very important function as they act as the foundation nodes of information collection and dissemination and the service delivery points for Government administration. “It is the view that broadband will enable wider public access to government information, which is a prerequisite of good governance and also lead to effective administration and monitoring of quality of delivery of government programmes as well as provide a platform for delivering applications,” Seepersad-Bachan added.
“Services such as birth certificate, death certificate, lands records, police reports, school admissions, health records, court papers, government documentation, renewal of licences, tax submissions, etc can be facilitated through broadband connectivity. It will thus enrich G2C (Government to Citizens) and C2B (Citizen to Business) interactions leading to greater collaborations. The minister added that this was what the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is also working towards achieving. “Using the technology to develop what we have termed a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to allow citizens to access the very services that you have mentioned in your White Paper.”