Barbadians In High Command -3

On 1st March this year Barbadian Mr. Rodney Taylor was appointed Secretary-General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.

With the Internet becoming more integral and important throughout the region, this posting is very significant in relation to our development as smaller economies with high hopes for the future.

Rodney seems well chosen to take on the mantle of Command, having served in Information Systems and Digital Technology management both at home and abroad. He is well qualified and has a good range of work experience in his field.

Currently also he is an advisor on Internet Governance, and he has published research on e-Commerce diffusion in small island developing states in the Journal of Information Systems for Developing Countries.

He has had a long association with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (ctu) and was for some time its Business Development and Operations Manager. This Barbadian in High Command is using his brains the best way he can. 🙂

Copied below from their site is the ctu interview with Mr. Taylor at the time of his prestigious appointment:

photo: ctu.int

1. Congratulations on your new appointment as Secretary General. What motivated you to return to the CTU, this time as Secretary General?

My heart has been with the CTU and its mission since I started working there in June of 2010. I embraced its mandate and saw how critical its role was in driving digital transformation in the Caribbean. Now, as I return to the organisation to build on the excellent work done by the previous Secretary General, I am that much more motivated to use my knowledge and experience to help the CTU achieve its strategic objectives. I look forward to providing leadership to the incredible talent that exists within the organisation as we continue to drive in particular the region’s digital transformation agenda. I also look forward to fostering closer working relationships with other key stakeholders in the ICT sector. It is an exciting opportunity.

2. What do you see as the role of the CTU in promoting the regional thrust to transform to the digital economy?

The CTU has to be a leader in driving the transformation of national economies in the new digital context. This has to happen country by country, but it also has to happen within a regional framework such as the CARICOM Single ICT Space. This calls for harmonised policies and standards that will allow us to make the region more attractive for investment in the technology sector. It will also allow us to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across all sectors of the economy as the Single Space provides greater opportunities to scale locally developed technology solutions. These solutions often address public sector challenges or address a social/business problem. The extent to which the CTU can successfully deliver on its mandate will be the extent to which we can see real growth and development and the transformation of our economies.

3. How do you intend to get this priority to be more prominent on the regional agenda?

CARICOM Heads of Government indicated their commitment to the implementation of the Single ICT Space (SIS) and approved the implementation of the SIS Roadmap at the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 16th February 2017 in Georgetown, Guyana. It is evident, based on a number of projects related to digital transformation being funded by international development agencies, that there is a major commitment regionally and a good understanding by regional Heads that this is critical to our future. The recent and still evolving global pandemic has brought this issue even more to the forefront, and Governments are grappling with the delivery of public services in an environment where many offices are closed, or functioning at limited capacity. There is no denying that there is now an urgent need in both the private and public sectors to make the transition.

4. You most recently served as the Chief Digital Technology Officer at the Barbados Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology where you were the

technical lead for Barbados’ digital transformation. How do you intend to use that experience to accelerate digital transformation among CTU Members.

I gained a great deal of experience working “in the trenches” on several innovative projects mandated by the Government of Barbados. The formation of the Ministry of Innovation Science and Smart Technology (MIST) helped to sharpen the country’s focus on digital transformation, particularly in the public sector. In so doing, it was understood that Government, being a major facilitator of private sector business by way of policy and regulation, could help to transform the overall economy. Projects such as the national digital identification card; an e-services platform; consolidation of government services within a simplified online portal, and establishing a Smart City, are just a few. MIST was called upon to work across the public sector in areas such as health, national security, immigration, tourism and others, so it opened the door for personal and professional development. It also allowed me to build relationships with key stakeholders that may now be leveraged across the region. We need to learn from each other’s experiences, know what works within the context of small developing states, and focus on the development of our regional talent as a key long-term objective. In so doing, we can offer our innovative solutions to the world and build more sustainable economies.

5. What message do you have for the CTU stakeholders?

This is an exciting opportunity, though a difficult time for all of us. Together we can successfully navigate it together. We have to work collectively and remain committed to the regional integration movement. There will always be issues of national concern and each economy will have its peculiarities even in our relatively small. However, even as we execute at the national level, we can work more effectively if we seek to find those opportunities that link what we are doing to an overall regional agenda. Real and practical reasons such as economies of scale and more streamlined use of resources will give us better bargaining and lobbying power as we interface with global technology providers and regulators. Unity as a region will give us greater opportunities and open doors for our innovators. There is room for everyone.

6. What are your first areas of focus as you start your tenure as Secretary General?

My plan is to strengthen the relationship between the Secretariat and its Member States, private sector members and other key stakeholders. This strong working relationship is critical to the CTU’s success. We have to be seen as the “go to” organisation on matters of technology and digital transformation because we bring the value of regional expertise.

We also have to ensure that the interests of the Caribbean are well represented in international fora, whether it be the United Nations, in such bodies as the International Telecommunications Union, or multilateral organisations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the American Registry for

Internet Numbers, and many others where we can show the strength of our numbers as a region.

In addition, I want to ensure that we deliver on the objectives of the CARICOM Single ICT Space, including the elimination of roaming charges within the region and the zero-rating of public services on mobile networks. There is more work to do in the area of harmonised spectrum to make life easier for broadcasters, mobile network and radio operators. Other areas include the use of technology by persons with disabilities, through the CVAS initiative and ICT4PWD workshops, and the promotion of innovation hubs so that we can encourage entrepreneurship, particularly amongst our young people. Furthermore, the Caribbean Centre of Excellence (CCOE) will take on greater prominence as it was set up to offer consultancy services to the CTU Members and others. The CCOE will ramp up these services in areas such as national ICT policy and strategy development, ICT legislation, the design of government wide-area networks, network audits and assessments, and a range of others.

In essence, we have to and will respond to the needs and requests of our members and other stakeholders. I plan to ensure we do.”

Perhaps his time in Command will prove one of super vision and sound leadership. Let’s hope so.

Last month Rodney was interviewed by the Internet Society, Trinidad and Tobago. This channel is where we caught up with what’s going on with this Bajan in Command.

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