by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) encompasses all communication technologies, including the internet, wireless networks, cell phones, computers, software, video-conferencing, social networking, and other media applications and services which allow users to access, retrieve, store, transmit, and manipulate information in a digital form.
As the world continues to lean further in advancements in the ICT space, its overarching effects bleed over into other sectors like health, national security, infrastructure, energy and more.
With the integration of ICT into other sectors, the additional risk to national security arises, as was witnessed in January 2023, when the Nevis Island Administration fell victim to a cyber-attack with information being held on ransom and Government services vastly impacted, including the Water Department which had challenges with its billing system. Repairs were made to the system, and no further attacks were reported.
What has the government been doing to advance the Federation’s ICT capabilities?
Minister of Public Infrastructure, Energy, Utilities; Domestic Transport; ICT; Post, Hon. Koris Maynard said that the ICT Department is constantly combatting attacks on our system, and some decisions have been made to try and protect our systems.
“There’s a lot we may not say all the time about ICT, but you must know that people are always trying to hack our systems. And so we are constantly trying to see how we can protect our systems, and we have taken some decisions to try as best as possible to protect our systems, [so] that is something that we’re paying attention to.”
Minister Maynard shared plans to collaborate with the Federation and the Republic of China (Taiwan) on a digital expansion project.
“We have partnered with the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the development of a Digital ID where each person will have a Digital ID to facilitate our digital transformation. So that all of your information will be securely kept in different the departments – whether it’s at Inland Revenue – wherever your information is presently kept, it will stay there. Then we will have a system where different systems can call upon these other systems to get your information so that you don’t have to go and carry them. So if you need a proof of address, when you show up with your digital ID will link to your particular address, or if it is your criminal record, it will link to your criminal record.”
The ICT Minister did not provide a timeline for introducing Digital IDs or further details on the additional initiatives to build out the ICT sector in St. Kitts and Nevis.