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Legislation on privacy and data protection in SVG being reviewed

Legislation on privacy and data protection in SVG being reviewed

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The legislative framework for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development in St Vincent and the Grenadines was the focal point of a two-day workshop that began here yesterday.{{more}}

Organized by the Ministry of Telecommunications, the consultative workshop is being held at the National Insurance Services (NIS) conference room and has attracted a fairly large gathering of stakeholders from telecommunications, media and other organizations involved in ICT.

The theme for the workshop is: “To review and amend the acts and current national legislation on privacy and data protection.”

Director of Special Projects, Dr Jerrol Thompson, speaking at the opening ceremony, reminded those gathered of government’s commitment to have the data protection and freedom of information legislation passed in parliament.

This, he said, is very critical for the protection of people’s privacy and to enable e-Commerce.

He disclosed that when the e-grip legislation was being developed, he was “a bit disappointed” with the level of consultation with stakeholders here.

“We tried to set it up, but I don’t think that the consultants who were engaged really allowed us to do this. So, with this second bite, I would say with the assistance of the ITU, we said look, if we are going to pass this legislation this year, we have to first of all get it right,” Thompson said.

“We have to make sure that the various stakeholders are involved and understand the different pieces of legislation that they have a say. And if we have to make some changes now, we’ll make those changes now,” he added.

Day one of the workshop featured various presentations and consultations focusing on data protection and privacy that was facilitated by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) officials.

Professor Dr Gilberto Martins de Almeida, an ITU consultant, presented a comparative law analysis on privacy and data protection, while Euchrista St. Hilaire Bruce-Lyle gave an overview of privacy and data protection.

Assistant director of e-Government Affairs, Jacqueline Creese said the legislation will play an integral part in charting the way forward in the delivery of services here.

“In the delivery of public services, we must ensure that the citizen’s data are protected. The freedom of information legislation will allow government to be more transparent, more accountable to improve decision making capabilities and enable the public to better understand the decision making processes,” she said.

As a follow-up to the workshop, Creese revealed that a stakeholders meeting will be held from May 23 to 24 to adopt and validate the proposals for reform of the legal framework.

Meanwhile, Cleveland Thomas, ITU Area representative for the Caribbean, ITU commended the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines for their commitment towards further developing the ICT sector here.

“The ITU notes and commends St Vincent’s commitment in its ICT sector. We note that the ICT strategy and action plan for 2010 to 2015 is in line with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and from which we understand, great progress have been made.”

Thomas further stated that St Vincent and the Grenadines remains a strong partner with the ITU and has been proven through continued participation in many of ITU’s developments, standardization and policy making meetings, regionally and internationally.

“The ITU is confident that over these next two days at this forum, we will be exploring many options and the opportunities, so that if and where necessary, draft legislation for these areas will be more enhanced.

“The ITU remains a committed partner to the government and to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the ITU Area representative added.(AA)

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