St Vincent PM wants new legislation to strengthen ICT sector

TECH NEWS – A three-day workshop examining technology and telecommunications issues in the Eastern Caribbean began in St Vincent on Monday with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves underscoring the need to enact legislation to develop the sector in the sub-region.

Gonsalves told delegates from Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and the host country, St Vincent and the Grenadines that he hoped the conference would examine possible draft legislation that would reflect the current technological needs of the region.

“I really am looking forward to you moving swiftly and to present me with a draft bill which I can subject a study, have the officials in the Ministry of Legal Affairs…look at it carefully and to have it out for public discussion.

“But I don’t want you to have this seminar and deliver the bill for me five years hence, because by then you will have to deliver a different bill for me because technology would have made several of your assumptions obsolete. So speed is of the essence,” Gonsalves added. More

Cuba’s pending tech revolution

TECH NEWS - Cuba’s entry into the modern high-tech era will require improvements to its electrical grid, a buildout and upgrade of its wireless networks and IT workforce training. This will not be easy, and it may not happen swiftly.

Cuba has an educated population craving technology, but it has little income for new tech. The Cuban government wants to trade with the U.S., but is paranoid about the outside world and has limited Internet access to 5% to 10% of the population, at best.

“The government has been very reluctant to have open Internet access,” said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. But “there is real hunger for technology,” and with the easing of the embargo, the government “will be facing new pressures,” he said. More

Jamaica approves CWC/Columbus merger

TECH NEWS- Jamaica is the first country in the region to approved acquisition of Columbus Communications by Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC). Approval was granted by that island’s Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell.

In making the announcement on Thursday, Paulwell said he obtained major concessions for consumers in return for the approval of the acquisition by CWC of Columbus International’s assets in Jamaica—Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited (Flow) and Columbus Networks Jamaica Limited (CNJL).

SAVE THE DATE! The Next Kingston BETA is on Thursday February 26th, 2015.

KBSave the Date Feb 2015STARTUPS – The first Kingston BETA event for this year is now confirmed for,  Thursday February 26th, 2015. It’s our 8th year of staging Jamaica and the Caribbean’s first and longest running Tech Meetup + Pitch Off!  So save the date!

Get your pitches ready!

Your fellow tech/startup community members as well as investors are waiting to hear from you. Have a great idea/Startup to pitch?  send your name, brief description to ingrid@connectiMass.com. And have a read of our guidelines here. We do Skype Video pitches from Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs in the region and from the US and UK Diaspora as well.

Will you make the next list of Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015 ? #jamaicanstartups #caribbeanstartups

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SiliconCaribe.com’s Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015

trendsThe Caribbean’s Tech Startup Ecosystem started with the first wave of Internet Startups in the mid 90s, inspired by, and at times clones of, the American success stories.

The region had, and in some cases still has, its own eBay (jamdeal.com), Yahoo (top5Jamaica.com), early social networks (caribbeanmassive.com and vibesconnect.com),online dating (caribsingles.com),alumni networks  (ackee.com), its own Search Engine ( is4we.com), Online Ad Network ( caribclix), Car Classifieds             (trinituner.com) and so much more.

It was a time when entrepreneurs bootstrapped, squeezed alot out of DSL Internet speeds, and without the help of accelerators, hubs or incubators, used primarily online advertising and affiliate marketing to make money. Some failed, learned and evolved; some made money, and others sold their websites for major money.

Cuban government support of the weekly “packages”

atTech News - Cuban blogger Isbel Diaz Torres has written a two part post on the information “packages” that are distributed each week in Cuba.

In part one, he lists 12 factors that lead him to believe that the Cuban government may be behind these weekly packages. I will not list the 12 factors here — you can see them in his post — but he makes a compelling case that the package service could not run as smoothly as it does without government participation or approval. More

Telecom Consolidation: 5 Potential Consumer Benefits

technology-telecommunications-and-mediaMuch has been written about the potential negative implications of the consolidation being witnessed in the Caribbean telecom sector. Service provider promises notwithstanding, the threat of higher prices, diminished service and limited choice is real any time there is a reduction in the number competitors in any market. In the absence of specific commitments and timetables, consumers have legitimate cause for concern.  However, there is also a basis for hope, as the integration of voice, data, mobile and cable business lines can deliver potential benefits to Caribbean consumers. Potentially.

Turkey Continues New Push to Deepen Ties With the Caribbean

dominica-567x385Turkey has made no secret of its desire to deepen its relationship with the Caribbean, and the country is continuing that push with a new initiative in Dominica.

Dominica announced that Turkey would be donating 50 computers to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture as part of the island’s goal of making advancements in the information and communication technology sector.

e-Government efforts across the Caribbean

eGovernmentIn mid-October, and for a talk on e-government with graduate students at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, the following presentation was delivered on e-government across the Caribbean. The presentation focussed on three areas:

  • a quick overview of e-government
  • an examination of how the Caribbean performed on latest e-government survey conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and
  • a discussion of select e-govt initiatives from across the region.

Blink bmobile promotes technology to improve regional education

logoON the surface, cricket and video conferencing may seem to have nothing in common. However, a dinner hosted by the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) regional Chief Information Officers in Barbados on November 21, 2014, with former West Indies cricketer and Captain, Daren Ganga video conferencing in from Trinidad, set the stage to prove that both cricket and technology, indeed, have the power to unite the Caribbean. 

Jamaica CAC launches SMS service for bad-product notification

Chief Executive Officer, Dolsie Allen

Chief Executive Officer, Dolsie Allen

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) today (Sunday, November 30) launched its free Short Messaging Service (SMS) Notification and Alert service to provide information via cell phones to the public on issues relating to food and product recalls.  “It is an important component of the Commission’s outreach mechanism so as to enable the flow of quality information to consumers on a timely basis,” CAC

, said at the launch.