Government sets out future plans for e-business

| 17/12/2010

(CNS): More than two decades after the worldwide web took off as a place to do business, increase efficiency and share information, the Cayman Islands Government has established an advisory board to lay the framework for a an e-government initiative. At present very few government services can be accessed on line but government hopes to come up with a strategic plan for the next decade to realize Information communications technology as a toolfor economic and social development. According to a release from GIS, the board will review government services and recommend which of them can be offered electronically as well as promote the overall concept of e-business in the private sector.

Last week a seminar brought together representatives from public agencies such as Computer Services, the Department of Education Services and the Information Commissioner’s Office, along with some private sector representatives to discuss the plan. The E-Government Advisory Board is chaired by George Town MLA Ellio Solomon.

Commonwealth Secretariat ICT Adviser Tony Ming, a key player in the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum, told the Cayman officials, “On a global scale, the priority is implementing national information communication technology strategies and e-government.”

Ming said that in a 2006 World Bank ICT survey of 40 countries almost all listed e-government as the major priority. Other top-ranking areas were e-education, e-business and e-health.
He noted that this critical public sector development would serve to build capacity and promote the effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions, while strengthening the capacity of areas critical to good governance and sustainable development.

ICT also ties in to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Millennium Development Goals 2015, which include the reduction of extreme poverty, universal education, improved environmental sustainability and building global partnerships.

In Cayman the goals are to establish a platform for the development of ICT and update legislation, to manage ICT through a statutory authority, to deliver state-of-the-art telecommunications at competitive prices and improve computer literacy amongst the population, to list a few.

Government also said it wants to encourage the use of on-line technology for businesses in the private sector and to encourage economic diversification by promoting the local and international growth of e-business.

However, one of the main stumbling blocks to the expansion of online trade in Cayman is the banks reluctance to offer accounts that enable people to shop on-line. Despite promises from the other retail banks, so far Butterfield remains the only one offering the merchant account with internet payment facilities.

Officials also hope the public sector can use IT to improve customer service and efficiency and allow easier public access to information, while at the same time protecting personal information and electronic data.

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  1. Simpleton says:

    Bizarre/completely embarrassing – all 1st world economy’s foster, encourage & subsidise cheap high speed internet because they see the exponential growth in international e-commerce, and understand the obvious implications for where world trade is headed. Durrrrr!

    On the Cayman Islands ranks 92nd in the world for download speed. Yes, the worlds " fifth biggest financial centre" has an average d/load speed of just 2.76Mbp,s and we are beaten by plenty of 3rd world economies such as;

    Romania 23.0 Mbps 6th , Ghana 7.78Mbps 41st, Kazakstan 7.03Mbps 47th, Trinidad & Tobago 5.4Mbps 59th, Jamaica 4.5Mbps 72nd.

    To encourage inward investment to the Cayman Islands – never mind to keep what overseas investment we have already –  it is blatantly obvious we must be e-commerce friendly if we are to compete with the world. But no; none of our MLA’s understand any of this. Sigh.



    • Anonymous says:

      Kazakstan? You mean Borat has faster internet than we do? Crap!

    • Anonymous says:

      The government will have to first eliminate the monopoly we call Lime to jump on the band wagon with the rest of the world.  The other monopoly called CUC is also increasing the cost of EVERYTHING in Cayman.  How do we begin to catch up with the rest of the modern world when we are acting like a 3rd world country?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I seem to remember reading about an e-government initiative that Elio was part of about 12 years ago – same complaints, same comments from the public. Ideas seem to be the only things recycled in Cayman. 

  3. expat weirdo says:

    How about the government makes it possible for people that have online busineses to bank here? It’s ridiculous no banks in the Caymans accept clients with internet businesses, what year are we in?

    This is the most unfriendly island for anything internet related.



    • Anonymous says:

      All those companies have to do is open a Cayman corporation with an exempt (or local) trade license and open a bank account with an institution that provides for merchant accounts to be used online. What’s the problem? The Internet based organization doesn’t want to set up shop here? I’m sure they will find everyone in Cayman from the lawyers, landlords, Immigration, support companies, Chamber of Commerce, to the taxi drivers welcoming them with open arms to set up.

  4. Skeptic says:

    It would be nice if all the departments would put their forms on line. For example you have to physically go to customs to get the forms they tell you about on their website.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just online, but the correct and up to date current version of the form in *.pdf form.  This is not rocket science.  

  5. Ray says:

    How about Govt. simply start with by making it mandatory that every department that collects fees from the public MUST accept debit cards. Some do & some don’t. Why? This must come first in order to be able to pay things via the web. This would be a very easy, small, first step.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, what’s up with that, Lands & Survey?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, cash only at L&S. I wonder if they have submitted their financial report?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a very good point.  Standardised procedures and business processes across the board are essential in any organization, particularly one so large as govt.  No wonder we’re always getting told different things depending on who we talk to… most frustrating!

      • Anonymous says:

        Standardisation also leads to efficiency. This is part and parcel of the gross inefficiency witnessed in government.

    • StashTheCash says:

      Perhaps the Government Departments that are having the most trouble with submitting any accurate financial reports are the ones that only accept CASH payment. Hmmmmmm…… makes you think, doesn’t it?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an idea:  how about regularly updating the destination’s online tourism resources with current and future info?  CITA last updated in 2009!  DOT site doesn’t list anything – pathetic!    

  7. Anonymous says:

    zzzzz …..just had the monthly e-gov update from elio on rooster this morning…. sounded alot like the last months update and the month before…..

    same thing applies to moses kirkconnel’s waffle about the sister islands on turesday…..sometimes I swear rooster is playing replays of old shows…..

  8. whodatis says:

    "However, one of the main stumbling blocks to the expansion of online trade in Cayman is the banks reluctance to offer accounts that enable people to shop on-line."

    Can someone please explain to me the reasoning behind this?

    Online trade is ridiculously absent from Cayman and should be considered an obscenity considering our supposed standing as a major financial center of the world.

    Please get the ball rolling on this issue guys – there has been too much talk and not enough action thus far.

    *I understand the reluctance towards E-Government as that WILL result in redundancies and lay-offs, regardless of what they tell us – but in regards to the private sector, the lack of online trade facilities is extremely crippling to prospective business formats.*

    • Anonymous says:

      Merchant’s have to offer their products and services through their own websites. Their online sales by credit or debit cards will simply be deposited into their bank accounts.

      When you purchase anything with your debit card today e.g. groceries, gas etc, those sales go directly to those merchants accounts. So, as you can see, local bank’s are accomodating electronic sales.

      However, it is up to businesses to take it to the next level and create websites where the public can actually order and pay for goods.

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is not with making purchases from a physical store, like Hurleys, but rather purchasing items online. Many websites will not process debit cards with a Cayman Islands address. That is the problem that the banks must fix.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong…the banks have nothing to do with it. Only one bank here processes their own debit and credit cards and that is our National flag carrier. All others use a credit card gateway located elsewhere, mostly in the USA. It’s the global website developers who create catalogue sites that can’t accept a Cayman address. They must think that the USA invented the web and WWW. stands for Wild Wild West. World Wide Web goes beyond the USA but hey, they think that any of their teams that win their National title games are the World Champs at it. The Green Bay Packers are the World Champs of American Football. Really? Where else do they play it on a professional level? I think it should be downgraded to the USA Champs. Baseball is played in Japan and other countries on a high level too but yet the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Maybe the USA is using the internet to keep small countries down and the trade embargos in check?