ICT IS TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO'S NEW GROWTH POLE
The ICT sector has the potential to become one of the most critical areas of economic diversification in the coming years and will be a pivotal player in the creation of new jobs.
The Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie advanced this position at the formal launch of the Trinidad and Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group (TTMAG). He referenced the now widely-accepted pronouncement that “data is the new oil”, and welcomed the “explosive possibilities for the local Internet scene and indeed, for the society that we want to become.”
“Indeed, one commentator has been known to say that the most important jobs in the next ten years have not even yet been created, so dynamic and increasingly adventurous is this area of expertise,” said Minister Cuffie during the feature address to TTMAG’s Board of Directors and representatives at what was described as a historic day in the life of the Internet in Trinidad and Tobago.
In September 2015, the TTMAG was formally constituted, representing the interests of Government, Internet users, academia, the technical community, civil society and businesses/SMEs, regarding the policy and marketing of all domains that end in the .tt suffix. The group is the local chapter of MAGs around the world formed to address the challenges and to capitalize on opportunities presented by Internet Governance.
As Minister with the responsibility for the National ICT portfolio, Mr. Cuffie praised TTMAG’s willingness to see to fruition the goals of the National ICT Agenda- aimed at driving the advancement of Trinidad and Tobago as an ICT destination of choice, with a computer-literate and tech-savvy population. For these reasons, he said, the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications “will throw open its doors to accommodate TTMAG”.
He described TTMAG as a model of collaboration and cooperation, and has promised that it is the Government’s intent to “make maximum use of multi-stakeholder groupings such as TTMAG to further the country’s interests”.
Minister Cuffie noted that the current Government has fully embraced the multi-stakeholder approach to knowledge-sharing, drawing reference to the Economic Advisory Board, the National Tripartite Council and the e-Business Roundtable as other recent examples of the Government’s commitment to engaging with the private sector, civil society and citizens on every level.
He urged the members to promote and develop best practices and policy standards for the .tt country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), noting that there was much work to be done, and the acquisition and securing of the .tt suffix is “but one step on a long journey”.
Thursday (January 26th) marked the formal launch of the TTMAG at the Courtyard by Marriott where the eleven (11) members of the Board of Directors and representatives of their stakeholder entities were officially presented.
In providing an overview, TTMAG’s Chairman, Dr Sanjay Bahadoorsingh pledged the group’s willingness to serve not just the Internet community’s interests, but national interest, as the .tt suffix represents a subscription to “.red, white and black”.
The Trinidad and Tobago Network Information Centre (TTNIC) manages the registration and maintenance of all domains that end in the .tt suffix.
The Trinidad and Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group (TTMAG) was formed out of consultations with Internet stakeholders on the .tt country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) held by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 2009. A Multistakeholder management model was preferred by most stakeholders, which subscribed to the General Principles of Internet Governance.
A Multistakeholer Advisory Group (MAG) was considered a fair and legitimate way to develop ccTLD policy. Given customer and stakeholder requests to update the .tt user experience, the MAG was also suggested as a way to have the TTNIC continue to focus on technical excellence, and have the MAG deal with marketing, policy and other less technical issues.