NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Economic Affairs Sen. the Hon. Michael Halkitis said cybersecurity plays a pivotal role in The Bahamas’ national strategy and is crucial for advancing the nation’s utilization of information and communications technology and managing cyber risks-particularly from an economic, but also from a national security perspective.
This is an area of significant interest to our administration and its ‘Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness’ project,” Minister Halkitis said during the opening ceremony for the Organization of American States (OAS) Cybersecurity Symposium 2023 held at Baha Mar Resort on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
This is the ninth edition of the OAS Cybersecurity Symposium, which seeks to provide training, exchange of information, as well as raise awareness about cybersecurity in the region. It is aimed at cybersecurity professionals, decision makers and cyber incident specialists. This symposium featured cybersecurity leading experts from public and private sectors, universities and representatives of other OAS agencies.
The Economic Affairs Minister explained that The Bahamas’ citizens continue to experience first-hand how technology facilitates ease of access to working with the Government and essential services, drives education and capacity building and connects people worldwide. “In effect, technology can allow us to achieve a better future.”
He said, “Therefore, digital transformation must be appropriately balanced with comprehensive national cybersecurity strategies and resilience plans to achieve our national security goals.”
Minister Halkitis said The Bahamas has dedicated itself to advancing the cybersecurity posture in The Bahamas.
“This has materialized in part through the establishment of the National Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT), set to officially launch and begin offering an introductory set of services compliant with national laws and regulations, industry standards and best practices this December.”
He noted that as CIRT-BS strengthens its international partnerships, it will serve as the country’s focal point for cybersecurity incident response to cyber-attacks and will provide proactive and reactive services to public and private organizations.
The Minister said by championing the cybersecurity maturity model assessment and drafting the National Cybersecurity Strategy, The Bahamas is one step closer to its goal of becoming a cybersecurity leader in the region.
He explained that the agenda over the next two days aims to navigate the complexities of the cybersecurity landscape, human rights and emerging technologies.
Minister Halkitis said, “Our keynote addresses will touch on innovations in artificial intelligence, perspectives on gender and cybersecurity from the US Department of Defense and risks in the ‘fin-tech’ world.”
Also bringing remarks at the opening were Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism, OAS Alison Treppel and Principal Assistant Executive Secretary for the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, US, Jennifer Bachus.