Regional Collaboration: An interview with Bernadette Lewis


Management nodes

LACTLD has recently joined the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) with the aim of strengthening collaboration with Caribbean stakeholders. The CTU is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1989, dedicated to supporting the development of the Caribbean information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.

In this interview, Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU, describes their ongoing work with the Caribbean ccTLDs and the plans for joint efforts with LACTLD.

—How is the CTU organized and what are your main strategic areas?

—The membership of the CTU is comprised of 20 Caribbean States and territories, specialised governmental ICT agencies, private sector and civil society organizations.

The CTU continues its work in the areas of harmonised ICT policy development, capacity building, providing advice to members and coordinating regional projects. However, our main strategic thrust at this time will be supporting our members in making effective use of ICT to foster rapid digital transformation in the Caribbean.

—What strategic initiatives and projects do you undertake in the Internet Governance field, in particular?

—As the main convenor of the longest running Internet Governance Forum in the world −the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF)− the CTU will be encouraging the establishment of national IGFs and strengthening Internet Governance at the national level through its Caribbean Internet Development Foundation which was launched in February 2020. The Foundation will foster enhanced coordination at the regional level, support the implementation of regional initiatives at the national level and support the work of the CTU in fostering digital transformation.

—In what ways do you think the work of Caribbean ccTLDs can foster the development of the digital ecosystem and the ICT sector in the region? How have the CTU and the Caribbean ccTLDs been working together in this regard?

—ccTLDs are an important national resource, that with careful management can raise the visibility of countries and stimulate entrepreneurial and commercial activity. Innovative new approaches to ccTLD marketing and management will contribute to the development of the digital ecosystem and the ICT sector in the region. For example, ccTLDs can be leveraged for country promotions in tourism, technology or entrepreneurship generally, as well as for enhancing local expertise in DNS operations. They can also directly strengthen the stability, resiliency and security of the local Internet infrastructure by adopting state-of-the-art technologies e.g. DNSSEC, by hosting or supporting local hosting of root servers and promoting the development of Internet exchange points.

The CTU contributes to capacity building and development of ccTLDs in the Caribbean through the Caribbean Internet Governance Fora. The CTU and the CIGF have provided platforms for Caribbean ccTLDs to meet, share information and best practices, and build capacity. We will continue to do this but would also like to foster greater self-reliance in our ccTLD operations, reducing our dependency on extra-regional outsourced services.

—How do you think collaboration between LACTLD and the CTU can advance the development, security and stability of the Internet in the Caribbean? What do you see as the main opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations?

—Collaboration will enable LACTLD and the CTU to share expertise, experiences and best practices and coordinate efforts to strengthen the security and stability of the Internet in the Caribbean. Resources can be optimised for capacity building, technical working groups and technology updates.

Public awareness building and educating Caribbean stakeholders are essential steps in developing the ecosystem and would benefit from collaboration between our organizations.

—Do you have any additional comments?

—Local content development is an important part of a successful digital economy. The use of ccTLDs could be an important tool for differentiating local entrepreneurs and services and promoting local growth. The CTU looks forward to working with LACTLD to identify opportunities for promoting the growth and value of regional ccTLDs and strong digital economies.