(Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) During the period 18-22 May 2009, Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) will be in the spotlight as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat hosts a series of meetings, a symposium and a children’s festival on this important issue.


The meetings start the day following World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) which is marked on 17 May. This year  the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Tillman Thomas will deliver a message to be broadcasted across the Region on this year’s theme `Protecting Children in Cyberspace’ The Prime Minister has responsibility for Science and Technology  including ICT in the  CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.


The CARICOM meetings and activities for the week will be held under the theme `Caribbean Information Society: Using ICT as an enabler’. The flagship meeting will be the  Special Meeting of CARICOM Ministers responsible for ICTs on 21 May, which will be preceded by a meeting of Senior Officials from CARICOM Member States on 18 and 19 May. In keeping with the tradition of ICT Ministerial Meetings, there will be a High Level Symposium on 20 May which will include presentations and discussions on the most recent developments, trends, challenges and opportunities in ICT4D.


At their meeting, Officials and Ministers from Member States will receive reports on wide-ranging issues in relation to ICT4D.  These include reports from regional and international agencies on work being done to achieve the CARICOM Information Society (including the new E-Government Strategy and Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN)/Caribnet; updates and developments in telecommunications in the past decade; updates and developments on communication and broadcast issues; major developments in the ICT sector, including a presentation of the Draft Strategy and Action Plan for advancing CARICOM’s progress as an Information Society.


In keeping with the decision of CARICOM Heads of Government to give prominence to Functional Cooperation in the work of the Community, ICT was identified as critical to achieving this mandate. To this end the Ministerial meeting is also scheduled to receive reports on mandates pertaining to ICT4D, which may have emanated from the Councils and Organs of the Caribbean Community over the past five (5) years.


The week-long focus on ICT will conclude on Friday 22 May with a children’s festival and exhibition with the WTISD  theme: Protecting Children in Cyberspace’. The CARICOM Secretariat, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will host the festival and exhibition. There will be four workshops for children aged 9-14 covering the issues of making /producing a personal video; making/producing music; creating a website (basic) and news production. There will be one workshop for teachers and parents on the subject of educating children about online risks.