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Digitalization now a must for SVG!

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Editor: I followed the news regarding the fire at the Magistrate’s Court which took place on Friday, July 21, and wondered what would have happened if everything were destroyed in that fire.

This reminded me of the thoughts I had when I was applying for admission to college and needed copies of my secondary school transcript. I knew my records were still tucked away in a filing cabinet somewhere – just as birth, marriage, and death records are stored away in that little room at the Courthouse.{{more}}

I believe it is safe to say that the majority (if not all) of the institutions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines still store records in filing cabinets, or written down somewhere in large “cat ears” notebooks that are falling apart. Why must I still have to wait for a handwritten copy of my birth certificate? Long lines at the banks are also due to the inefficient handling and method of record processing. We need an upgrade ASAP.

I must applaud the changes that I’ve seen at the Treasury and at the Immigration Department. A seven-day wait for a new passport is a huge improvement and must be commended.

I must also say that it is long past due for the rest of St.Vincent and the Grenadines to digitalize all of its records. The risks involved are too great. What do we do if those notebooks with birth, death, and marriage records were to somehow go up in flames? What do college-bound students do if their secondary schools with all their records were to go up in flames?

Editor, as a software engineer, I must say that there are many benefits to be gained from transferring our records to digital media. Most importantly, I must highlight the security benefit. Once stored, records can be easily copied and stored in a second or even third location and easily replaced at one location, should they be destroyed for whatever reason. I heard the Minister of Information and Technology on a radio program a few years ago saying that the process had begun, at least, at the Courthouse, but maybe we need a more aggressive approach. I must also be realistic and say that we are limited when it comes to resources, especially the personnel that will be needed for maintenance, etc, but it’s a change that is more than necessary at this point.

I would like to encourage the National Institute of Technology to keep on training our people in the various areas of computer operations, including programming and database processing. These skills are very, very important for the improvements of our country as a whole. This is the direction in which we much go in order to improve our efficiency. It is by no means an easy task, but we will get there if we approach it more aggressively.

Software Engineer

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