DP Leader: We must make smarter use of expert forums that examine critical issues.

The sixth annual Governor’s Symposium ICT Governance Shaping our Future was again timely and on the mark.

The organization was impressive, as was the lineup of speakers.

More and more these and other like symposiums however leave me with a disconcerting afterthought and the  governor’s  2017 symposium was no exception in this regard.

Without a doubt, these symposiums continue to examine topics, timely and relevant for St. Maarten, the region and beyond.

In some instances, like that of this year’s ICT Governance, shaping our Future the topic was not only timely, it  is URGENT!

As  I mentioned, the speakers were well chosen and I was proud of our own speakers, who on such a level, amongst the other distinguished speakers, presented themselves well and represented their country admirably.

My disconcertment stems from the feeling that after the initial exhilarating digestion and the appreciation expressed by all, we are left with.  What can/will we do with the information as shared by those in the know?

ICT governance is one of those areas for which a collective and common vision, policy or governance strategy is KEY.

I noted the general consensus at the symposium on the topic of  ICT legislation and I agree that this is paramount, however legislation must be grounded in a vision with objectives, and constantly  measured and monitored. This guard can never be let down.

Evidently in our case, there are limitations to what we can accomplish and how rapidly we can react to technological changes and threats. Proper ICT governance will tax our human and capital resources even more and will compete for allocation of our scarce resources with other governance priorities.

Long term planning and prioritizing are therefore paramount, and I therefore continue to stress on the national development plan for St. Maarten. I hope that at least this 2017 symposium will lead to a reexamination and some (re)allocation of resources to ICT governance from a more general and  country-wide perspective.

We  also need to build  solid partnerships in those areas where we will come up short, just because of the sheer magnitude of the ICT realm. Research and development is one of the areas where we can align ourselves with other players in the (global) market.

As a reminder, the five previous topics of the Governor’s symposium were: (recommendations are available online)

2012  National Heritage: Historical, Cultural and Economic importance.
2013 Sustainable Development – Challenges for St. Maarten as a small Island Caribbean Nation.
2014 Education for Democracy.
2015 Governance: the value of Checks and Balances.
2016 Securing National Development.