BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 15, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — The Team Unity Administration will give priority to three pillars identified to enable digital transformation in the public sector, and Prime Minister the Hon Dr.Timothy Harris is commending The Cable for strategically positioning itself to support digital transformation in the country.
“Mr Speaker, while addressing the challenges of the day, we remain focused on creating the necessary environment to boost the economy during the period of recovery that lies ahead,” said Dr Harris. “We therefore propose that the 2022 Budget gives priority to the implementation of initiatives that are targeted at developing three pillars identified to enable digital transformation in the public sector, and the three pillars are, people – hence again the theme ‘investing in our people’, the processes, and the technology.”
Prime Minister Harris, who is also the Minister of Finance, made the remarks on Tuesday December 14 when he laid before the National Assembly, at a special sitting held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort’s Ballroom, the Appropriation (2022) Bill, 2021, under the theme ‘Investing in Our People – Putting St. Kitts and Nevis back on track’.
He assured that his Team Unity Administration will continue to invest in the development of the country’s public servants to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services to all who require them.
The Government, he added, will also ensure that the synergies between the goal to achieve digital transformation, and the development and expansion of entrepreneurs, particularly the country’s creatives and its innovators would be done through the continued partnership across agencies and sectors such as the Small Business Development Centre, the Department of Culture, the Ministry of Education.
That would include other thriving business operators and noted that he was sure that it would also include the relevant visitors when they come, as these areas are crosscutting and that Government will have a better idea of some of the practical things that are happening and will happen in 2022.
“We will continue, Mr Speaker, the important partnership with The Cable,” said the Honourable Prime Minister. “The Cable has strategically positioned itself to fully support the digital transformation in St. Kitts and Nevis, and I want again to commend its very competent and visionary CEO in Patricia Walters, who is here.”
The Team Unity Government, assured Dr Harris, welcomes the progressive involvement of the Private Sector in the development of a digital economy in the Federation. He pointed out that The Cable continues to demonstrate its good social corporate responsibility by providing a small, medium business package of 100 Megabytes, providing three times the speed for a minimal fee increase.
“Additionally, nine free Wi-Fi hotspots were installed in downtown Basseterre,” stated the Prime Minister. “My understanding is that they provide connectivity to approximately 20,000 residents and visitors each month. So, you do not have internet at home – I would wish everyone would have – there are nine free Wi-Fi hotspots downtown. You do not have data, go to the Square or go to eight other hotspots properly and conveniently located in the Basseterre area. This of course is getting the internet service absolutely free as a result of this intervention.”
Apart from the hotspots in downtown Basseterre, The Cable continues to provide free internet access to 17 community centres on the island of St. Kitts. The company, as a result of its outreach, is uniquely poised to maintain productivity and advance connectivity through the entire island using its fibre optic cables.
The Prime Minister said that he had asked Ms Patricia Walters, The Cable CEO, to provide a paper to Cabinet, “because what we have in terms of our fibre optic cables and network is an important resource that could bring benefits beyond St. Kitts and Nevis. And so, I have put Ms Walters to speak with the regional people who have come forward to me to share this particular view. It is a matter that the former Minister of ICT, the Hon Vincent Byron, and I have spoken on several occasions.”
The Cable, Dr Harris further advised, will also begin to connect homes in communities to its new underground fibre broadband network in the new year. He added it is an important element in facilitating the very important objective of the Government to develop a digital society where affordable and accessible high-speed internet is available to all.
In terms of the country’s skills and human development and expansion, Prime Minister Harris said that it has been already captured the attention of the public by the significant investment the Government is going to be making in 2022 in education – over $100 million.
“I want again to thank The Cable for its partnership with the Ministry of Education over these difficult 21 months, by providing free internet upgrades and of course ensuring that all 15 of our early childhood centres, all our primary and secondary schools, and all our teachers have access to ICT facilities,” said Dr Harris. “I want again to commend you Ms Walters for your yeoman’s service in this regard.”