Speech by Hon Paul J Lewis for ICT Week on Montserrat, November 19 - 24 Under The Theme; "GREEN, CONNECTED AND THRIVING – AUTOMATION AND CYBER SECURITY"

The activities this week includes donations of what the industry terms as “smart TVs” to schools and Community Centers. These modern ICT tools will be used for establishing and supporting both physical and virtual communities amongst interest groups that will greatly assist in preserving and enhancing Montserrat’s cultural identity and values amongst the resident population.

Speech by Hon Paul J Lewis for ICT Week on Montserrat, November 19 - 24 Under The Theme; "GREEN, CONNECTED AND THRIVING – AUTOMATION AND CYBER SECURITY"

Hon Paul J. Lewis, Minister for Communications, Works, Labour and Energy

ICT week is being held on Montserrat from the November 19 to 24th November 2017. The theme for this year’s ICT week is GREEN, CONNECTED AND THRIVING – AUTOMATION AND CYBER SECURITY.

The ministry of Communication Works, Labour and Energy is tasked with advancing the National Information and Communication Technology Policy, Strategy and implementation Plan 2017-2021.

We embrace the concept of Montserrat, as a small island developing state, in a digital world and we wish to breathe life into making the national ICT targets a reality.

The activities this week includes donations of what the industry terms as “smart TVs” to schools and Community Centers. These modern ICT tools will be used for establishing and supporting both physical and virtual communities amongst interest groups that will greatly assist in preserving and enhancing Montserrat’s cultural identity and values amongst the resident population.

Throughout the year, MCWLE continually makes Robotics in education, website building, 3D modeling and digital photography, all mainstay ICT activities that take place in our schools. These activities are enhancing the capacity, as well as the opportunities for our population to effectively create and use ICT tools for the educational, business, social, cultural and leisure development here on Montserrat.

The ICT project 2016/17 provides further support that includes the funding towards ICT cadets in assisting the Montserrat Customs and Revenue Services in the digitizing of documents. Additionally, the Montserrat National Trust is also supported in their ICT endeavours with their digital archiving of Montserrat’s history. The ICT project also provides support to the youth task force in their ICT related initiatives of that particular program.

The ministry continues its role as national ICT champion. We are working closely with other ministries across government and also non-governmental organizations and businesses locally, regionally and on the international stage, to advance the Montserrat ICT agenda and targets.

National ICT targets includes;

·       100% of schools with computers and reliable broadband internet access. By 2018

·       Functional submarine fibre connectivity                                         by 2019

·       75% of the population regularly using the internet                       by 2021

·       95% of households with broadband internet access                     by 2021

·       50% of businesses online and realizing tangible benefits             by 2021

·       50% of government services available on line                                by 2021

·       50% of the population accessing Government services on line   by 2021

MCWLE is in the process of procuring the services of a consulting firm to review the communication and ICT laws on Montserrat in order to provide advice towards drafting amendments to fill the gaps in the present legislations. Drafting regulations is one of the related requirements for the advancement of Montserrat’s ICT programmes.

Cyber security is a key priority for all government and businesses operating in today’s world. Over $400 billion US dollars per year is lost due to cyber attacks on government bodies and private businesses around the world. This is of great concern and has a direct impact on us here on Montserrat also.

The Ministry on behalf of the Government of Montserrat is being proactive to include cyber security and data protection as amendments within our ICT policy, as we seek to fill the gaps in the legislative framework and regulations.

The ministry is also engaging local personnel in drafting cyber security policy and strategy with the help of our regional and international partners CTU and CTO.

MCWLE under the ICT project is committed to capacity building. Thus we have started the process of training qualified cyber security experts that will provide support to a computer incident response team and cyber security Unit on island.

The training of such cyber security experts will continue to equip our own people with the necessary skills to mitigate against cyber attacks, and to have onboard the ability to audit and provide additional security to networks.

Training will be further provided in Digital Forensics to empower the law enforcement crime unit to be able to recover digital evidence for use in legal matters before the courts.

We are taking steps to protect your money, your data, your identity and your businesses from cyber criminals.

I will close by encouraging everyone to support and participate in the events during ICT week November 19th to November 24th.