PHILIPSBURG - Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunication and Transportation (TEATT) Melissa Arrindell-Doncher, accompanied by supporting staff from her cabinet, the tourism authority and Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten, attended the 33rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition of CANTO, which took place from 16th to the 19th of July in the Dominican Republic.
CANTO is Caribbean's premier Telecommunications event that caters to ICT professionals, regional governments and regulators, and were going under the theme: “Reimagining ICT as a tool for Growth & Development”.
During the conference, a wide variety of international telecom experts gave lectures on a wide variety of Telecom topics such as: Safe City & Smart City concepts, Digital Economy, broadband development, 5G deployment, global technology trends, content development and challenges & opportunities in the Caribbean region.
A large Telecom trade exhibition formed integral part of the CANTO convention, whereby vendors from all over the world showcased their state of the art products & services.
Minister Arrindell-Doncher participated in a wide variety of sessions, panel discussions, round-table-discussions, lectures, and was in particular truly amazed by the SMART City & SMART Tourism concepts.
The minister had had the opportunity to conduct face to face meetings with key players in the global Telecom Industry, and they’ve indicated that they are all willing provide assistance to St. Maarten.
The Minister stated: “I recognize the need for St. Maarten to make ongoing efforts to further enhance communication services on the island, and safeguard our precious tourism product by utilizing same technology.
“Top ICT services are needed to cater towards our tourists, and at the same time will allow us to collect more data from our tourists. This data is vital for our cruise conversion programs, and will eventually have a positive effect on our economic growth.
The minister continued; "we were very pleased at what we were able to achieve from our presence at CANTO. From being able to support our local regulator in the regional discussions, convening with my fellow ministers across the Caribbean to discuss new telecommunication trends and policies, and the potential business opportunities we were able to explore for the country with huge telecom companies; we know what come back to St. Maarten with great prospects for better telecommunication in St. Maarten.
The Director of BTP, Mr. Anthony Carty – also present at the CANTO conference - outlined that Telecom regulators have an important roll to play in accelerating broadband development in their respective nations.
“It’s our task to promote and advocate new technology solutions, and to advise and support the Minister of Telecoms by all means. The mere fact that 44 regulators from the Caribbean attended the conference – an all-time record at CANTO – illustrates that we are all taking our roll very serious, and making ongoing efforts to provide guidance to the industry.
“We must realize that only by working together we can achieve great things, and I’m therefore pleased with the active involvement and participation of the Minister, her cabinet, the Tourism director, and the Staff, Management & Supervisory Board of our Telecom providers.
“They were all present during the CANTO forum, and we had the opportunity to have several in-depth discussions and strong debates on how to improve communication services on our great island”.