Q and A with ICT Association of Saint Lucia

When was the ICT Association of St. Lucia formed and what prompted this?

The ICT Association of Saint Lucia (SLICTA) was incorporated on 01-Nov-2011 as a not for profit.

The formation of SLICTA was facilitated and fostered by its parent association, the St Lucia Coalition of Services Industries, which was itself launched in January 2009, and tasked with facilitating the growth and development of the St Lucia Services Sector through the adoption of high service standards, fostering activism and education on trade services issues.

What are the aims and objectives?

SLICTA is charged with the responsibility to mobilize professionals within the ICT sector and to lead the development of this sector.

What are the activities of the association?

The events calendar for SLICTA includes various activities, such as the staging of workshops and conferences. A key item recurring on our agenda is the Digital Marketing Symposium, held in November. On March 06th 2018, we hosted a free event in collaboration with ARIN in the Caribbean .

We have held seminars in collaboration with bodies including ICANN, and the OECS. We are actively working on introducing monthly Tech Talks to provide a learning and debate space for ICT related issues, projects etc. e.g. The launch of Open Data portal.

We maintain a high profile in national consultations, dialogues and policy development seminars that impact the sector, and we publish responses to events taking place within the industry. We are particularly pleased to visit schools and participate in Careers Guidance activities to influence the next generation of ICT sector workers, and actively promote the interest of girls considering a career choice within the sector.

Describe the tech space in St. Lucia?

The ICT services provided by local companies can be categorised into two main groups: computer-related services and information services. Computer related services involve the retail of hardware, development of software, consultancy services, data processing services, maintenance and repair of equipment, web page design and hosting, and computer facilities management. Information services include database provision services to businesses, web search portals, software design, and training. The clients of these local firm are mainly private sector and public sector institutions. Approximately 20 ICT firms are known to export their services regionally, or supply service to foreign clients.

How can tech be used to improve St. Lucia?

The latent capacity of the ICT sector to enhance economic development and contribute to service exports depends on its dual role as an enabler, and also as an industry itself. Increased consumption of ICT and technology products would serve to enhance the capacity of other sectors, and therefore provide overall economic benefits.

One of the core values listed on your website is "ICT Excellence - embrace leading edge technology" - what are some of the leading edge tech being championed by the association currently?

We strongly believe in the benefits of embracing open source software, and the early adoption of IPv6 technology. Cybersecurity and DNS security improvements are also strongly encouraged.

One of your targets (also on the website) is "more young people are into ICT careers". Can you expand on this?

There are new and emerging career opportunities within IT every single day, even traditional jobs are becoming more technology driven and the need for an IT proficient workforce has become mandatory. We believe that by encouraging ICT as a career choice, we may stimulate long term participation in, and development of, the ICT sector. Not only through traditional employment streams but also tapping into the entrepreneurial side of things. Therefore, an ongoing goal of the Association is to improve the numbers of teachers and students who become members of SLICTA.

How important is CARICOM and the Single ICT Space to St. Lucia's ICT initiatives?

It is important, because of the improved economies of scale, and opportunities for shared learning and collaboration.

Do you link up with other associations in other Caribbean countries?

Yes, we maintain contact with the leadership of the other OECS ICT Associations, with a long term goal of strengthening our individual associations, and perhaps eventually forming a unified ICT Association.

Encourage persons in a few words to join this association?

We are progressive, dynamic, and are looking forward to making a difference to our industry. Join us, to have a shared voice in the growth and direction of the sector. You do not need to have formal training in ICT, just an interest in the development of the sector.

Anything else you would like to add?

Bring along a friend! For further background information, please consult our website: ictassociation.lc