Prime Minister and Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Dr. Keith Mitchell has reiterated his desire to transform the public service into an ICT-centered organisation.
The Prime Minister was addressing a wide cross section of IT practitioners throughout the public service at a ceremony held at the Conference Room of the Parliament Building at Mt. Wheldale, St. George.
Dr. Mitchell said as Prime Minister responsible for ICT in the Caribbean Community (CAFRICOM, he believes that it is time for Grenada to get on par with other countries in the region in ICT matters.
He stated that Grenada was the first country in the Caribbean that moved into the digital system.
“We come a long way in the region – some counties have gone way ahead of us, who initiated this thing, because now we have a stubbornness in the system, we want to remain where we are”, he said.
“So, sometimes I feel bad, I go to meetings and when I listen to people talking about what they have done in technology and where they are going and I realise I started this whole process (in) my country, I feel embarrassed, have not moved with me because of what people still believe ‘Cable and Wireless love us’, ‘Grenlec love us’…they don’t love you, they love the money they making.
As PM Mitchell took aim at the two foreign entities that are in control of the island’s telecommunications industry and electricity, he said he would not blame them for what they are getting out of the country.
He said: “…I don’t blame them, if I was in their position, I preaching for them, I working for them but to have your own people backing them against their own future is frightening – that is what worries me”.
Dr. Mitchell stated that the government IT service needs to move out of the mentality where every department has an IT Head.
“We have done some work but we still have a long way to go. I’ve been having to pound head against the wall watching us operate (where) every little institution of government has its own IT service, everybody trying to hire IT specialist in education, health, water – in all kinds of stuff – waste of resources.
“Everybody want a little kingdom where they exist in my little yard – one yard we have sisters and brothers, the Grenada yard and whatever we do must be seen in the context of what optimise the opportunities for people in our country.
“… Forget the politics, forget personalities, think of our children and grandchildren, if we think that way this country would be far ahead where it is today but every time we deal with something, somebody get vex, this person wants to tell them what to do and everybody into their own little kingdom, sisters and brothers one kingdom we have.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Public Administration, Home Affairs, Information, Communication, and Technology, with responsibility for Home Affairs and ICT, Sally-Ann Bhagwan Logie told participants that solutions need to be found for the many challenges encountered in ICT.
“As we deliberate today, we must bear in mind that the Prime Minister as the Minister for ICT and fortunate also to know that he is the Minister for Finance and he is also the Minister for Public Administration, so we have resources covered and then he is the Prime Minister who is the Head of Cabinet and it goes even further recognising the tremendous work that he has done in Science and Technology”, she said.
“He is putting the onus on us here to make sure that we get ICT right and to move forward to have decentralisation but we must also have some sort of networking and reporting and this is one of the things we want to do”, she added.