For Immediate Release:

[18th September, 2020; Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago]


Wednesday September 16th 2020 was a day that anyone in the telecommunications industry should not have missed! Over 400 attendees across the globe; presenters located in the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe; thought-provoking topics delivered with cutting- edge precision; all seamlessly linked by the host in Port-of-Spain, ensured that CANTO Connect a virtual networking event, was the Caribbean Telecommunications industry’s first virtual event success story. Chairman David Cox, Vice-Chairman Mike Antonius, Secretary General Teresa Wankin and the CANTO Secretariat certainly hit a marvellous 6, kicked that ball straight into the back of the net and did a resounding slam dunk with CANTO Connect 2020.

In keeping with CANTO’s reputation of provocative discourse during its conferences, CANTO Connect did not disappoint. Leading off the discussions, Dr Simon Naitram, Lecturer in Economics at The UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados, noted that the Caribbean is currently experiencing both demand and supply shocks. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which threatens to derail our economic progress, unless we commit to drastic structural and institutional change, underpinned by the adoption of digital technology and stronger Caribbean integration.

Facebook’s Sebastian Kaplan, Public Policy Manager, Connectivity and Access for Latin America, described Facebook’s mission to bring more people together to a faster internet. He drew reference to a key project in Peru where Facebook is partnering with operators, the IDB, communities and policy makers, despite the challenges of terrain, to improve communication for millions of people especially those in rural areas.

For persons and industries looking for greater efficiency in their business or to monitor the safety of staff; those looking for better management of resources, perhaps to improve agricultural yields or to streamline transport and logistics; Ben Edwards, Head of IoT at Vodafone teased the imagination about the realty and possibility of IoT services and devices.

Jane Coffin, Senior Vice President of the Internet Society promoted the Society’s push for keeping the internet more open, agile and secure, In its role as a lobbying body, Ms Coffin highlighted the organisation’s strong voice for operators and governments to work together to improve connectivity and create community networks especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has driven life online. She underscored the Society’s willingness to provide expertise to ISPs and policy regulatory bodies when creating models for better connectivity.

Delegates to any CANTO event would know that there is concern for the people behind the technology, the people driving the innovations that keep us online, that keep us connected.

CANTO Connect was no different in this regard.  Keynote Speaker, Kerry Scott, Chief People Officer of Liberty Latin America exposed attendees to the challenges on personal well-being, that the Covid-19 pandemic was posing to staff, who now may be working from home and those persons who may be alone and isolated. Using examples from LLA, Ms Scott reiterated that constant communication with staff was absolutely necessary to ensure that people remained a priority. She advised managers to “take the lead”, “be visible”, “to match words with actions”, “to look for changes in team members’ behaviour” and also to regularly check themselves as well. Even if managers or staff are working from home, it is still essential to “take a vacation”, take a break from the work space, even if that space is home.

The virtual format of CANTO Connect also did as it promised, to engage colleagues and allow for networking among industry representatives. Of course, the element of fun, characteristic of CANTO Conferences, was not forgotten. Drinkologist and Bar Consultant, Stephen Jamunar, sumptuously teased our palates as he mixed three wonderful drinks.  Music performing artist and producer, Ivan “TR Shine” Burgess and Justin “DJ Jago Williams”, both of Belize, brought the virtual event to close with performances to make you get up off your feet and dance!

Special thanks must be extended to all the sponsors who understood the necessity of supporting and bringing to life an event such as CANTO Connect at this time. Such foresight will certainly continue to drive the innovation needed to build the technological capacity and capability of the Caribbean Region.


Stay tuned as CANTO Conversations continues this Tuesday 22nd September. This series, hosted by the CANTO Covid-19 Task Force, explores the perspectives, best practises and coping mechanisms employed by the industry during the pandemic.

Stay Safe. Stay Connected.