ECTEL Meeting of Ministers come to a Close
Following discussions between various countries and representatives of the “Compete Caribbean”, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, Ministers gathered at the Rejens Hotel in Portsmouth, to formally sign the Letters of Commitment for a project to support broadband.
Friday October 25th, marked the close of the 28th meeting of the ECTEL (Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority) Council of Ministers, who meet twice annually to consider the budget, work plan and the audit report among other aspects of the organization.
Honourable Ambrose George, Minister for Information, Telecommunication and Constituency Empowerment, was the first to sign the letter that will allow “Compete Caribbean” the mandate to proceed, with activating the project and making funds available to facilitate it in the 5 ECTEL member states as well as Antigua and Barbuda.
Discussions ventured towards the replacement of the existing Telecommunications Bill, with the new proposed Electronic Communications Bill.
Recommendations for the establishment of reserved funds for the company, geared towards technology, business continuity, litigation as well as research consultancy and analysis were among topics discussed.
According to Honourable Dr. Jerrol Thompson, Minister of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry for the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, OECS, ICT and telecommunications meetings must be a voice for issues as they arise.
Dr. Thompson, says decisions are often left up to the Directorate, in a design to protect the image of a non-interfering set of governments and too often they are approached individually by investors.
“As ECTEL Ministers, the focus clearly has to be the regulatory process as well as a developmental agenda”, he said.
In future, the Minister hopes that separate meetings can be held for non–ECTEL development matters.
Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the following five countries that established ECTEL, to promote market liberalization and competition in telecommunications of the contracting states.