October 25th, 2021

The Cayman Islands joins the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) welcomed the government of the Cayman Islands as an ICT Sector Member at a virtual induction meeting that was held on 23rd September. Led by the Secretary General, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, the CTO delegation presented the work and mandate of the CTO to the Cayman Islands Government team headed by Ms Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, Chief Officer (Acting), Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing, and Infrastructure.

The Cayman Islands, located in the western Caribbean Sea, is the most populous self-governing British Overseas Territory. With a population of 65,000 the Cayman Islands span 102-square-miles and are made up of three islands Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The country is vulnerable to tropical storms, and resilient telecommunications infrastructure is needed to sustain the islanders lives and livelihoods.

A high-income country[1], the Cayman Islands leads the Caribbean region in terms of wealth per capita. The economy is largely sustained by tourism and international finance[2] so digital resilience is a key priority. Over the last decade the government has invested heavily in telecom infrastructure and services recognising that digital technology can also drive further economic growth. Two undersea fibre-optic cables connect the Cayman Islands to the rest of the world and a third is being planned. There is 4G network coverage across the islands and internet service providers (ISPs) offer fixed and wireless services.[3] The Fair Internet Report[4] ranks the Cayman Islands twenty-fourth in the world for download speed, placing them above major world economies such as Japan, UK, and Germany and well above the Caribbean average speed. There are concerted efforts to make the Cayman Islands a leading international business hub with Cayman Tech City aiming to attract a range of tech companies[5], that specialise in data management, technology, blockchain, FinTech, MedTech/BioTech, and media/marketing.

In September 2021, the Caymanian government confirmed its intention to increase eGovernment services and establish digital verification for citizen identity. This initiative will enhance eGovernment services, making government practices fit for purpose in the 21st century.

The Secretary General shared the new course for the CTO to support its members with their digital transformation programmes and to have a measurable impact in member countries.

CTO is streamlining all activities, to support our members through ICT events in raising public awareness, holding consultations to identify member goals and priorities based on national plans, and by formulating strategies to deploy local ICT solutions.

CTO offers customised training to equip the workforce in adopting and managing procedural and technological changes. In addition, CTO provides project management support to ensure that ICT projects are implemented and members meet these goals for digital transformation.
CTO Secretary General, Ms. Bernadette Lewis

The Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing, and Infrastructure will represent the Cayman Islands as the ICT Sector member of the CTO. Ms Nicholson-Makasare expressed the team’s appreciation for the opportunity to learn about the CTO and noted that the CTO’s strategic vision was in keeping with the goals of the Cayman Islands.

CTO looks forward to working with the government of the Cayman Islands to ensure that the digital transformation programme is delivered as a national development priority.

[1] World Bank

[2] Cayman Islands Government

[3] ForeignPolicy.com

[4] Fair Internet Report

[5] Technology City Cayman Islands | Cayman Enterprise City