Attorney General and Minister of Communications, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, says he is very excited about the launch of the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Governance Board, and the Official Website of St. Kitts and Nevis, which promises to be one of the best models of e-Government not only in the Caribbean but in the world.
The launch is being held under the auspices of the Attorney General and takes place at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), Fortlands, Basseterre, on February 18, 2016, at 10 am under the motto “Transforming a Nation through Technology and Innovation.”
The term E-Government or Electronic Government, comes down to how government delivers public services to people in a more cost effective and convenient manner. This is made possible through electronic media. Instead of manual processes that rely solely on the use of paper and people, e-Government harnesses information and communication technologies such as broadband and mobile computing, to transform service delivery and convenience to our citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.
The Minister of Communications says that there were two primary reasons behind the Government of National Unity’s focus on e-Government and ICTs.
“The first reason centered on building a strong and enduring foundation upon which to deliver services to our people. Upon taking office, we realised that there existed numerous websites critical to conveying government information and services, and there were some serious issues — some related directly to national security, Minister Byron said, while noting that first, there were multiple points of administration, hosted on different servers of unknown security, each conveying and collecting vital data and information. This of course, was contrary to best practices and demanded our immediate attention.”
“The second reason, also of great importance, is to develop a foundation upon which this government delivers promises made. International organisations such as the IMF, United Nations, as well as foreign financial bodies, look to e-Government and ICT as a measure of a progressive and modern and truly democratic government,” the attorney general said. “Upon taking office, we were ranked 90 out of 197 nations by the UN, and lower when it comes to e-Participation, which is how effectively our citizen’s issues and voice are considered in forming and shaping public policy — our commitment toward e-Government elevates our Federation on an international stage.”
He explained that the strategic objective of e-Governance “is to support and simplify governance for government, citizens and businesses. Our use of ICT will connect government, citizens, and business and support growth and development. Our other objectives are to make government administration more transparent, speedy and accountable.”
According to the Minister of Communications, e-Governance provides many benefits and advantages for government, corporate sector and society. Some of these benefits are that government processes become more streamlined, efficient and less dependent on human interaction and the cost of processing transactions will be reduced online, resulting in great savings. Another advantage is that of interconnecting various ministries and government departments electronically to share information.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Mr. Stanley Knight, says that the government portal that will be launched is unique to other government portals.
“What is different about this particular government portal over previous government web pages is that previously the purpose of a government presence on the internet was purely for the purpose of providing information. This portal, however, gives the citizens of the country and for that matter the wider diaspora, an opportunity to interact with the government and in time not just with the government but with the country. We are in the process of developing apps where you would be able to do many transactional things,” Mr. Knight said.
Mr. Knight said that the portal will be “a one stop shop not just for government services but in the future if you want to find out where is a good place to eat, it will be able to guide you to the private sector, and so this becomes a portal, a digital doorway to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
E-Government normally evolves through a four-stage process. The four stages are information, interaction, transaction and transformation. The government is concluding the first phase and entering into the second phase.