Broadband, Spectrum, E-waste, Key Topics at CANTO’s 30th AGM in Jamaica
Montego Bay, Jamaica was the melting pot of ICT activity when over 85 delegates consisting of members and invited guests from a membership of 134 based in 34 countries convened at the Half Moon Hotel. The three day event co-hosted by LIME Jamaica ran from the 25th -28th January, 2014 and was held under the theme: “Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Broadband Development”.
The packed agenda was unleashed with the customary preambles such as the Board of Directors meeting on the Saturday followed by the working committees on Sunday morning. The official Opening Ceremony on Sunday evening featured Hon Julian J. Robinson, Minister of State, Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining. In his address, the minister spoke about the role of government in the development of broadband and stated that: “Typically government’s role in promoting the growth of broadband should be to:
- Make markets more competitive, efficient, accountable and transparent; and
- Ensure equitable access for all…”
He further pointed out that “the most effective government strategies are those that seek to harness the power of private sector investment to spur broadband growth. No “one-size-fits-all” approach will guarantee greater broadband deployment and adoption as political and economic conditions vary”.
Other speakers at the Opening Ceremony included; Dirk Currie (Chairman) Karen Bevans(Vice Chair), Secretary General, Ms. Regenie Fräser of CANTO and Mr. Garfield Sinclair, CEO of LIME Jamaica.
The 30th AGM saw the approval of the Secretariat report and financial statements for 2012/13 while including voting for Board of Directors positions, reports from the six working committees of the Board including the newly formed Corporate Social Responsibility committee and an update on the on-going BIIPAC project.
The election portion of the AGM proceedings yielded the following: Davidson Charles (LIME Antigua) was re-elected to the office of Treasurer. Julian Wilkins (Digicel Trinidad & Tobago), Lawrence McNaughton (LIME St. Lucia), E. Jay Saunders (Digicel Turks and Caicos) and Charles Carter (TSTT) were re-elected to the Board. CANTO also welcomed newly appointed member Columbus Communications who replaced outgoing Lyrio Gomez of UTS. Continuing on the board are Dirk Currie (Telesur) – Chairman Karen Bevans (BTL) – Vice Chair and Helma Etnel (TELEM), director.
There were several sessions added to the agenda this year. The first session was the “Financing- Broadband Infrastructure in the Caribbean”. The objective of this session was to discuss innovative ways in which Broadband infrastructure can be financed within the Caribbean. From the multilateral agency viewpoint, Mr. Zaballos of IDB detailed that loans can be made available to the private and public sector for broadband financing projects, delegates were encouraged to make contact with the IDB with a view to discussing projects involving Access, Adoption and Usage, as these are priority areas for the Bank. Mr. Stegeman from CostQuest Associates gave various examples of how broadband rollout has been costed in North America. Costing insight was detailed for rural and urban scenarios.
Jonelle Jones and Khaliqa Muhammed gave sterling presentations about the reality of e-Waste in the Caribbean, replete with a special Trinidad &Tobago case study, in a session entitled: Creating an Enabling Environment for the Sound Management of e-Waste in the Caribbean region. The Caribbean’s primary method of treating with e-Waste still remains storage and so the need for greater awareness and policy creation, which would facilitate sustainable e-Waste management strategies for the region, were articulately underscored.
The session “Americas Spectrum Issues” zoomed in on the impact on Caribbean Operators and underlined the fact that these must get access to spectrum to provide Caribbean customers with the type of connectivity they desire. There were presentations delivered by Melesia Sutherland-Campbell of LIME, Jamaica and Andrew Gorton of Digicel, Jamaica
In as far as representing the region in international spectrum, CITEL in partnership with the ITU will be the relevant bodies. As such, CANTO was urged to work with CTU to ascertain the spectrum allocation priorities from the region’s governments, which would then be communicated to CITEL and the ITU.
In its 30 year milestone, CANTO used the opportunity for introspection through its final session titled: CANTO – A look into the future” chaired by: Karen Bevans, Vice Chair and CANTO. Other panellist included Julian Wilkins, CANTO Director, Dirk Currie CANTO Chair and Secretary General, Regenie Fräser. Two key recommendations from the delegates were for continued focus to be spent on achieving the Association’s objectives and for greater emphasis on value added services for the benefit of the CANTO membership.
CANTO’s 30th AGM & Mini Expo was sponsored by LIME Jamaica, CISCO, Anritsu and Shields Environmental. For more information visit www.canto.org/agm
CANTO is recognized as the leading trade association of the ICT sector for shaping information and communication in the Caribbean. Founded in 1985 as a non-profit association of 8 telephone operating companies, CANTO has now grown to over 134 members in more than 34 countries. A Board of Directors appointed by the membership directs policy of the Association. This strategy is executed by the staff of a permanent Secretariat based in Trinidad and Tobago.
LIME is the Caribbean’s largest telecommunications company with a proud history in the region, and which is always working to improve life in the Caribbean. LIME delivers the very best communication services to governments, businesses and families in 13 Caribbean countries with one unifying promise—building, connecting and serving communities. LIME is part of Cable & Wireless Communications PLC, one of the world’s leading communications companies.