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Barbados Government Committed To ICT Development

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

07 November 2007


The importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the future development of both onshore and offshore business in Barbados has been underscored by the jurisdiction's government.

Addressing a recent Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) luncheon, Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development, Senator Lynette Eastmond told her audience that “Barbados promotes itself as an international business centre, and if we wait to utilise ICTs we will be left behind”.

She urged those in attendance to consider the internet as a third ‘port’ to Barbados, where local and offshore businesses could expand their operations.

“Government views small businesses as the future of Barbados and through the Ministry’s National Council for Science and Technology we hope to encourage small businesses to utilise ICTs in effectively delivering their services,” she stated.

Another issue which came to the fore was that of individuals becoming qualified and leaving the island to hone their skills abroad, resulting in a 'brain drain'. A suggested reason for persons migrating abroad was that they found it difficult to advance economically and socially in their home country.

Eastmond suggested that with the aid of BIBA, the country could develop a distinct business culture among young people keen to take risks, and therefore reduce the incidence of Barbadians leaving and taking their business skills overseas.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Owen Arthur has pledged that the government will bring about new ICT polices to bridge the 'digital divide' in Barbados.

Attending the official opening of Rices Pavilion & Resource Centre last weekend, Arthur warned that a new inequality based on access to technology was emerging, and argued that this had to be removed.

"There are a large number of children of poor people who do not have access to such facilities at home, and left unaddressed, we can face a new inequality. Not an income inequality, but a digital divide where some people can advance because of access to the technology, while others stay backward because they don’t have it. And it is the government’s determination that there should be no digital divide in this country,” the Prime Minister has stressed.

To correct this disparity, he revealed that government had started building pavilions with resource centres, “so that at the level of the community, children could have access to the internet and be trained in information technology”.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce and online gaming is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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