Mr. Chairman, Excellences, delegates, the senior executives and the members of staff of the ITU, the staff and the volunteers from the host country South Korea, I bring warm greeting from Saint Lucia.
On the second of May 2015, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) will be celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of its establishment. ECTEL is the only multi-state telecommunications regulatory authority, which was established by the sovereign states of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
For the past fifteen years therefore Saint Lucia along with the other contracting states to the treaty have benefited economically, socially and technologically from the liberalized environment for the telecommunications and the ICT sector.
The regulation of the sector has been independent and free of capture of any of the significant groups in the market. We have seen a multi-fold increase in cumulative investments of during the past decade. Mobile penetration has catapulted from less that three percent in 2002 and in the past eight years has been over one hundred percent.
Our model of the multi state regulator it is not about the changes in ICT indicators. It has provided several lessons to the world. There has been successful coordination of the scarce resources of the radio spectrum and the collective leadership of the regulatory framework, which has led to technological innovation, and the participation of home grown investors in the sector.
The cost of regulation per country has remained significantly low without any added burden to public expenditure.
Mr. Chairman the lessons are simple. We can achieve so much more if we work together. Working together also means accepting responsibilities, believing in collaboration and embracing consultation as the essence of your existence. It means also sharing the collective successes. Tis is why we will continue to support the extensive work of the ITU and work towards improving governance and operations which are fair, progressive and inclusive.
Saint Lucia, instinctively promotes the collaboration with all other countries in the Caribbean in the fulfillment of our visions of ensuring the ICT is the new engine of growth. In this regard we have embarked on several aggressive initiatives to expand broadband to the citizens of our countries. One such programme called the Caribbean Infrastructure Broadband Project (CARCIP) is being rolled out in simultaneously in some of our countries. This programme is based on the policy and philosophical guidance of the final recommendations of the ITU broadband Commission.
The CARCIP programme will extend broadband infrastructure for e government, commerce and governance, as well as modernizing the regulatory frameworks for open access. Broadband has moved beyond being the buzz. It is now action.
Besides this programme, our ECTEL countries are undertaking a major revision of our Universal Service Funds to ensure that these resources and more responsive to the rapidly technological environment, and changing demand from the providers and consumers in the ICT sector.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, let me acknowledge the other delegations from the Caribbean region that have been actively engaged in the deliberations of this plenipotentiary conference. Saint Lucia also extends its gratitude to the outgoing Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Toure, who is a true friend of the Caribbean. He has visited the Caribbean so often during his tenure that we have lost count.
We also congratulate the new Secretary General Mr. Houlin Zhaou. We have now doubt that he will continue the excellent work of Dr. Toure and come to the Caribbean more often. It is really a warm and beautiful part of this globe.
Saint Lucia looks forward to working with the new executive team at the ITU. While we celebrate fifteen years of independent telecommunications regulations, we will also be joining the one hundred and fifty anniversary celebrations of the ITU.
Finally Mr. Chairman our congratulations to you for the management of the conference and to your government and people for making us fee most welcomed. I thank you.