Minister recognises need to further enhance communication services

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten was represented at the 33rd annual Conference and Trade Exhibition of CANTO, which was held from July 16 to 19, in the Dominican Republic.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT) Melissa Arrindell-Doncher, accompanied by supporting staff from her cabinet, the St. Maarten Tourism Authority and Bureau Telecommunications and Post (BTP) St. Maarten were amongst those in attendance.

A number of international telecom experts delivered lectures on a wide variety of telecom topics such as safe city and smart city concepts; digital economy, broadband development; 5G deployment; global technology trends; content development and challenges and opportunities in the Caribbean region. A telecom trade exhibition was also held where vendors from around the world showcased their state of the art products and services.

Arrindell-Doncher participated in a number of sessions, panel discussions, round-table-discussions, lectures and was in particular “truly amazed” by the smart city and smart tourism concepts. “The minister had had the opportunity to conduct face-to-face meetings with key players in the global telecom industry and they’ve indicated that they are all willing to provide assistance to St. Maarten,” the minister and BTP said in a joint press release issued on Sunday.

Arrindell-Doncher: “I recognise the need for St. Maarten to make ongoing efforts to further enhance communication services on the island and safeguard our precious tourism product by utilizing [the] same technology. Top ICT [Information Communication Technology] services are needed to cater towards our tourists and at the same time will allow us to collect more data from our tourists. This data is vital for our cruise conversion programmes, and will eventually have a positive effect on our economic growth.”

“We were very pleased at what we were able to achieve from our presence at CANTO. From being able to support our local regulator in the regional discussions, convening with my fellow ministers across the Caribbean to discuss new telecommunication trends and policies and the potential business opportunities we were able to explore for the country with huge telecom companies; we know what comes back to St. Maarten with great prospects for better telecommunication in St. Maarten.”

BTP Director Anthony Carty, who was also present at the conference, said telecom regulators have an important role to play in accelerating broadband development in their respective nations. “It’s our task to promote and advocate new technology solutions, and to advise and support the Minister of Telecoms by all means. The mere fact that 44 regulators from the Caribbean attended the conference – an all-time record at CANTO – illustrates that we are all taking our role very seriously and making ongoing efforts to provide guidance to the industry,” Carty said. “We must realise that only by working together we can achieve great things and I’m therefore pleased with the active involvement and participation of the minister, her cabinet, the Tourism Director, and the staff, management and supervisory board of our telecom providers. They were all present during the CANTO forum and we had the opportunity to have several in-depth discussions and strong debates on how to improve communication services on our great island,” Carty added.

CANTO is the Caribbean’s premier Telecommunications event that caters to ICT professionals, regional governments and regulators. The conference was themed: “Re-imagining ICT as a tool for Growth and Development.”

Source: The Daily Herald