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Barbados: E-Commerce

Introduction

See below for specific information on e-commerce in Barbados, or go to Offshore-e-com.com for an extensive analysis of the commercial possibilities and the legal background.

Government officials from Caricom member states met in Barbados in October, 2004, and agreed that members should commit to an "aggressive and focused" strategy to accelerate the development of information technology across the region. The strategy calls on Caricom to adopt a fresh approach to ICT policy and regulation, capacity building, research and innovation, and to ensure more support is forthcoming for publicly-funded ICT programmes.

The representatives also agreed to work towards the development of low-cost, high bandwidth internet access throughout the region. The strategy urges national and regional organisations in Caricom Member States to prepare "with the utmost emergency" projects relating to disaster preparedness, Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) trade facilitation, skill development and entrepreneurship, e-government projects and wireless access connectivity projects.

The members approved an ICT action plan which was to result in specific actions undertaken immediately with additional targets due to be met by the third quarter of 2005.

The Prime Minister emphasized the need for progress in his 2004 Budget speech, saying: "We need to accelerate our e-government programme with a view to streamlining of processes, increase employee productivity, and permit greater interaction with the public and the provision of services 24 hours a day. One such critical, new initiative will be the Barbados Integrated Portal Project, an initiative by the Data Processing Department to provide a new electronic gateway to the services, information and knowledge contained in the public sector. The Government portal, which is one of the key pillars of electronic government, will now be implemented in phases. A pilot phase has been implemented primarily to demonstrate the concept, to evaluate the benefits and functionality of a portal. On completion, the portal will enhance Government’s operations making it more effective and efficient while providing the public easier access to its services 24 hours a day.

"To drive the e-government programme, Government will establish a new entity entitled the Central Information Management Agency which will incorporate the Data Processing Department, and will be responsible for the development of ICT strategies, policies and programmes geared at delivering governmental services through the use of information and communication technology.

The new Programme will make possible:

  • The development of a high-speed wide-area-network linking all major government offices to speed up the flow of information between government agencies.
  • The outfitting of our Post Offices to accommodate bill payments, including drivers licences, land taxes etc.
  • All courts will be connected electronically.
  • User forms like passport applications; liquor licence applications; income tax forms and all other user forms will be accessible on-line.
  • Legal fraternity will be able to conduct searches in the land registry database to speed up the time taken to have searches completed.
  • Government economic reports and other information will be madeaccessible on-line.

The telecoms market was liberalized in 2005 and, as a consequence, rates reduced and quantity, quality and availability of services improved.

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation began a project in 2010, dubbed 11-11-on, to have complete island wide WiFi coverage by November, 2011. At the time of writing (2012) coverage extends to the more populated parts of the island and covers around 60% of the population.

 

 

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