Port of Spain – Trade and Industry Minister, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon reveals that Trinidad and Tobago will in 12 months launch a new E-Commerce Strategy as part of the government’s digital transformation agenda. Speaking at CANTO Connect, the 40th Annual General Meeting of CANTO, on January 28th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minister Gopee-Scoon said that the government is seeking to position the twin-island Republic as a regional e-commerce hub. CANTO is the regional trade association of the telecommunications and ICT sectors.

Explaining that Trinidad and Tobago’s government is seeking to create an enabling environment for a modern, responsive, and sustainable digital economy, the Trade and Industry Minister said the E-commerce Strategy is one among several other initiatives geared towards accomplishing this. A digital economy needs a supporting legal framework, as such the country is working to update key pieces of legislation including the Telecommunications Act, the Data Protection Act, and the Electronic Transactions and Cybersecurity Act. Trinidad and Tobago is also working towards the development of a National e-ID and an Interoperability solution to allow for the interconnection of customer databases across the government.


The Honourable Minister noted that the country’s digital transformation agenda is well on its way with several initiatives already in place, such as:

  • two hundred and forty (240) free public WiFi access at transport hubs, hospital waiting rooms, libraries, and schools via the TTWiFi service;
  • a Digital Skills Development Programme;
  • thirty-six (36) e-services via the government’s trade and industry portal- TTBizlink, to facilitate the ease of doing business, with another fourteen (14) services coming by the year’s end;
  • 5G connectivity at the recently commissioned Phoenix Park Industrial Estate;
  • a Developers’s Hub, which brings together resources and technical expertise from the private/public sector to provide solutions for the digital management of licenses, passports, and other government services; and a
  • Tier 5 Modular Government Data Centre to house existing critical data, software, and digital infrastructure in distribution across the public sector.


Addressing delegates to the Conference CANTO Chairman, Mike Antonius, highlighted a number of the body’s activities and accomplishments for the last fiscal period. CANTO, he said had stepped up its advocacy initiatives with their Secretary General reaching out to regional ministers of government to highlight the work of the organisation and carve out new strategic partnerships. The purpose, he added, was to afford CANTO’s membership access to the policy and decision-makers who determine the region’s digital future.


CANTO, he added, has also intensified its lobby to have the big six Over The Top (OTT) content providers namely: Alphabet; Meta; Netflix; Tik Tok; Apple; and Amazon contribute to regional network infrastructure upgrade and development. It is that said infrastructure, he added, that aids the distribution of the OTTs’ content to consumers. C9, the CANTO lobby group comprising nine operators, is leading the charge in the region. Arising from the fair share issue, Mr. Antonius added as “operators grapple with bearing the burden of infrastructural developments in the face of declining revenues in traditional lines of business, CANTO is also supporting members’ efforts to modernise and reconfigure their business models in pursuit of alternative sources of revenue.”

Ultimately, this collaboration of operators on the issue of fair share is at the heart of what this trade organisation is about.


Also addressing the gathering, CANTO’s Secretary General Mrs. Teresa Wankin emphasised that CANTO is not merely an association; it is a driving force propelling the Caribbean region into the digital future. “Founded on the principles of collaboration and innovation, CANTO brings together a diverse array of members – from telecommunications giants to emerging startups, all sharing a common vision – a connected and digitally empowered Caribbean” she added. CANTO boasts ninety-three (93) members from thirty-five (35) countries across the globe. Secretary General Wankin said, “Through advocacy, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, we strive to create an environment where members flourish, businesses thrive, and communities are uplifted by the transformative power of technology.”

The Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) has joined CANTO to co-host the 2023 CANTO Connect and Huawei is the platinum sponsor for 2024 the event. Other members, namely: Blue Nap Americas; Datasur; C&W Communications; Telesur; Cerillion; ICANN; ENET; TCI; BTP Telem; Setar; GTT; ATNI; Digicel; TATT; Calix; C9; Cloudflare; and EHealth are also sponsors for the event which has seen a registration in excess of three hundred and twenty-eight (328) delegates.


Delegates were treated to dance riveting performances by Carvalho Productions of Trinidad and Tobago made possible by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and an appearance by soca artist Nailah Blackman, made possible by TSTT’s bMobile.


The Conference continues at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on 29th and 30th January 2024  and a cadre of local and international as well as government and private sector speakers will share on various topics including Solutions on Cybersecurity and Ransomware and its impact on National Security, Leveraging AI for Growth, The Human Side of the Digital Economy, 5G and Next-Generation Connectivity for Sustainability, and more.


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