Institutions worldwide are finding it hard to keep up with the rapid advances in computer-based technology, and Caribbean Courts are no exception. Judicial Education is urgently needed, according to Belize Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. Globally, systems of justice are struggling to keep track of the sophisticated, rapidly evolving operations of modern cyber crime.
But one Caribbean nation is tackling the issue head on, providing an interesting pattern for other countries in the region. Belize is taking an important step in responding to cybercrime, by upgrading of the capacity of its judiciary.
"Cybercrime and cyber issues must now have a prominent place in judicial education," said Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize.
In Belize, the legislative framework already supports the admission of evidence electronically. However, no laws are yet on the books to specifically criminalise the growing incidence of Internet-based wrongdoings.
A cybercrime bill is expected to come into force soon, however with that impending legislation, the Chief Justice plans to fast track judicial education, focusing on technology developments generally and cybercrime specifically.
"The introduction of new laws must be accompanied by the development of policy and of regulations guiding the detection, investigation and prosecution of any alleged cyber misdeeds," Benjamin said, adding that only a few judicial officers had already received cybercrime training to date.
OAS Agrees To Support Dominican Republic In Developing National Cyber Security Policy
The Organization of American States (OAS) has agreed to support the Dominican Republic in the development of its National Cyber Security Policy. On Wednesday, the Washington-based hemispheric body signed the agreement with the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (INDOTEL).
OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, said that, since 2015 the organization has been working with the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country to strengthen its cybersecurity capacity.
"It is an honour to be able to sign this Memorandum of Understanding and, in this
way, support the government in creating an open, accessible and secure digital Dominican Republic," he said.
President of INDOTEL, José del Castillo, said that the agreement seeks to protect and facilitate the secure access of all Dominican Republic nationals to information technologies.
"This reaffirmation of the commitment of cooperation with the OAS for us is very significant at a time when our country is promoting a national programme called 'Digital Dominican Republic,' with four pillars that have as macro objective the access of all Dominicans to the technology of the information," he said.
The OAS said that, through the Cyber Security Program of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), it is already supporting the Caribbean country in the establishment of a national cyber incident response team (CSIRT), which is one of the components of the "Digital Dominican Republic."
CICTE has already supported Colombia, Jamaica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Paraguay in developing their national cybersecurity strategies. It is currently collaborating with Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico on similar initiatives.
T&T Citizens To Benefit From Increased Wi-Fi In Public Spaces
Chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) Gilbert Peterson has said that Trinidad and Tobago is expected to benefit from 45 Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. He also said the TATT is moving with speed towards the licencing of White Space Devices (WSDs) by September 2017.
Peterson made these comments at Internet of Things (IOT) Smarter Living In The
Caribbean Forum held recently in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
Among those present were the Minister of Public Administration and Communications Maxie Cuffie, International Telecommunications Union Area Representative Cleveland Thomas and Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General Caribbean Telecommunication Union.
The forum's objectives included discussing the role of IOT in relation to converging technologies for building smart sustainable communities with integrated ecosystems. IOT also focused on developmental challenges and the paradigm shift in creating a smart world that facilitates sustainable economic development along with quality lives.
Peterson said: "In June 2008, TATT began the process for universal service towards 100 per cent of the population accessing basic telecommunications and broadcasting services by issuing its first consultative draft document. Not only do we have the relevant regulation, but, we are working to bring Wi-Fi access. The first phase, will see the deployment of free public Wi-Fi hotspots at 45 specific locations throughout T&T. Locations are waiting areas at public hospitals, major transportation hubs, water taxi and ferry docking areas and public libraries."
Peterson added: "In another attempt to connect the unconnected, TATT is moving with speed towards the licencing of White Space Devices (WSDs) by September. We hope WSD technology will help to close the digital divide and provide a medium for more people to benefit from IOTs."
Jamaica To USF To Establish national Public Safety Broadband Network
The Universal Service Fund (USF) is establishing a National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), which will allow government entities to link remotely, thereby improving the efficiency of communication across Government. Chief Executive Officer at the USF, Suzette Buchanan, said that the system will utilise teleconferencing and videoconferencing technologies to provide a uniform communication platform to coordinate activities among ministries, departments and agencies.
She said it will involve the use of government and private-sector owned telecommunication infrastructure to create a single shared communication system to serve public-sector entities.
She noted that the system will save on time and encourage greater efficiency across Government. "If, for example, the prime minister wants to meet with Cabinet, or wants to meet with the parish councils across Jamaica, he can sit where he is, as he does not have to move to the different locations," Buchanan explained.
"With the convergence of the different means of transmitting data, voice data and video can now be used in one continuous stream by all devices," she said. Ms. Buchanan informed that the equipment has already been procured and a schedule is being prepared for the installation.
Buchanan said that the National Works Agency (NWA), which has installed fibre-optic cable across Jamaica, is a key partner with the USF on the initiative. A pilot for the project will be undertaken that will connect the Office of the Prime Minister; Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and the Ministry of Finance and Public Service. The scope of the project will broaden as time progresses.