Seated - Prime Minister Harris (2nd left), Sir Tapley Seaton ( 2nd right), Ms. Belfon, (1st right), alongside National Archivists from across the Caribbean region

Press Release

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 26, 2017 (SKNIS):  The first ever Caribbean Digitization Workshop aimed at exploring low-cost methods of digitizing personal memories across the region is currently underway in St. Kitts and Nevis under the theme “Preserving Your Memories in a Digital World”.

The workshop will run for three days from April 26-28, and is hosted by The Caribbean Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) in conjunction with the St. Kitts-Nevis National Archives. It is sponsored by the International Council on Archives’ Fund for the International Development of Archives (FIDA).

Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is also the minister responsible for the National Archives, said that digitization is extremely important, especially to the many persons who are looking for surer ways to document their memories.

“In today’s digital world, historians, journalists and citizens in general could be seen documenting now for posterity, similar events using videos, photography and tape recordings of witnesses and in some respect, if it were Brimstone Hill, we would be recording not just the witnesses, but the victims of that process of inter-acculturation that has helped shape our history,” said Prime Minister Harris. “The digitization of multiple media formats enables now, a participatory and an inclusive approach to information consumption, information gathering and sharing.  Digitization also protects historical documents for future generations by eliminating the repetitive handling of them and the attendant wear and tear.”

Prime Minister Harris added that his administration understands the need for digitization, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) “improve the activities of the public sector, enabling businesses, citizens and organizations to interact with government institutions more efficiently and at a lower cost”.  He noted that the government strongly supports the idea of digitization in the federation.

“Since entering office in February 2015, our Administration have been on an ambitious e-Governance thrust.  This has resulted in St. Kitts and Nevis rising in its standing on the International Telecommunication Union’s ICT Development Index. We moved from #54 in the world in 2015 to an impressive #34 in the world in 2016 out of 175 countries,” he said.   “Consequently, St. Kitts and Nevis also was the only country to have received two awards at that international ICT Development Index Conference for our improvements in ICT development.   Digitization is crucial to our robust, award-winning e-Government approach and therefore we are supportive of this effort of digitization of our National Archives.

Avril Belfon, Vice President of CARBICA, used the occasion to acknowledge the participation of some of the national leaders, namely, Prime Minister Harris and His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, Governor General, noting that their presence highlight the value and importance of the seminar.

“The care of a nation’s documentary heritage must always be viewed as critical from the highest level and your presence here today with us speaks of that awareness and commitment, and it is deeply appreciated,” Ms. Belfon stated.

She urged all participants to acquire the knowledge and skills needed, as the aim is to be able to leave the workshop with the necessary tools that are required to acquire, preserve and provide access to the nation’s documentary heritage.