Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 22 June 2018
The 2018 Commonwealth ICT Ministers Forum in London, UK, has come to an end with Montserrat receiving ample representation via the delegation led by Montserrat's Minister of Communications, Works, Labour and Energy (MCWLE), The Honourable Paul Lewis. Ms. Loni Howe - ICT Coordinator on Montserrat, ably supported Minister Lewis, and also UK based Information Communication Technology Security Expert, Mr Dwayne Cassell.
The Forum was conducted under the theme “Committed Leadership: Harbouring a Roadmap for ICT Enabled Growth"
During the Forum, one of the key takeaways for Montserrat was the leadership and initiative shown by Minister Lewis and his delegation towards adding even more strength and impetus to Montserrat’s cyber security concerns.
Whilst at the Forum, a Cyber Security Implementation Plan was reviewed and endorsed for all Commonwealth Members States. This plan, as explained, will provide guidance towards ensuring optimum security, safety, and the resilience of cyber space within Commonwealth Member States.
Minister Lewis made even further representation for Montserrat with an additional discussion he put forward towards advancing the cyber security concerns of the island through access to more training and funded programmes for cyber security Specialists.
In addition, the Minister also made a special request for assistance for Montserrat in the area of strengthening policies and legislation that will address the island’s cyber security concerns; along with national awareness and education programmes for the public.
Lewis also embarked upon bi-lateral talks with a UK Minister around the theme of responsible cyber security implementation for Montserrat. The talks focused on how Montserrat would access some funding allocations from the £15 million UK Prime Minister Theresa May pledged back in April 2018 towards strengthening cyber security within the Commonwealth.
On announcing the funding UK PM May stated;
“Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders. I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat."
Prime Minister May further went on to state;
“Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.”
Within this £15 million package is a £5.5m fund for low and middle income member nations to conduct comprehensive national cyber security reviews prior to the Commonwealth’s next meeting. Minister Lewis hopes that via his representation, Montserrat would be able to benefit.
So far on the island, under Minister Lewis’ leadership, the police have been trained in digital forensics to assist in their response to cyber crime. Also, another national topped his class of international students after attending an intensive cyber security-training programme in India.
It is hoped via the representation made by Minister Lewis, and his delegation of ICT Coordinator Miss Loni Howe and Cyber Security Specialist, Mr Dwayne Cassell, that Montserrat will be a leader within the cyber security space in the Eastern Caribbean.