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WCIT-12 Opening Press Conference

Bernadette Lewis, Secretary-General, Caribbean Telecommunications Union

Opening Press Conference of World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3 December 2012

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me as the Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union of 20 Caribbean countries to be part of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT12), here in Dubai. I extend my warm congratulations to the Government and people of the   United Arab Emirates on their 41st Anniversary and thank them for their hospitality and for the excellent arrangements they have made for hosting this meeting.

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) was established in 1989 by Caribbean Heads of Government, because they recognized that telecommunications would have a significant role to play in national and regional development. But who could have anticipated the phenomenal pace of technological innovation that was to come - that would change their world so fundamentally and irrevocably, that many here have been privileged to witness over the last 40 years.

We have migrated from manual switchboards, to analogue telephony to digital switches;
From monopoly service providers to liberalized telecommunications markets;
From fixed telephony, to mobile anytime, anywhere telecommunications services;
From separate networks optimized for different types of services to the all-encompassing environment of Internet Protocol or IP where any information that can be digitized (even the touch of a surgeon’s scalpel) can be transmitted instantaneously, on a single network.
The technological revolution has effectively dismantled many of the traditional frameworks which governed how we live work play and communicate.

The survival and continued growth and development of many countries and organisations will be predicated on how effectively they respond to these changes.

I therefore congratulate the International Telecommunication Union  for undertaking  the task to  revise the existing International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). You would have heard that these regulations were last negotiated in 1988 and  given the rapid pace of technological innovation and the convergence of the formerly distinct disciplines of information and communication technologies,  the time has come for the  ITRs  to be updated to reflect the new landscape of the 21st century.

The ancient fathers prophesied of a time when knowledge would be increased and that we would be able to witness global events, in real time, wherever we might be in the world. We are the generation privileged to live in that time and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that all citizens have access to that information, so that how we revise the ITRs is critical.

We are  looking forward  to a very successful conference and outcomes that ensure equity and that all the people's of the world are able to benefit from affordable access to telecommunications and that they are able to use the information it delivers to transform their lives, those of their children, and their children's children.
I thank you all.