Current Affairs

Current Affairs




O'Meally-Nelson revs up focus on e-Government
Jamaica Gleaner

published: Friday | February 14, 2003

O'Meally Nelson

POSTMASTER-GENERAL, DR. Blossom O'Meally Nelson, has recommended that a steering committee be established to guide the process of institutionalising e-Government in Jamaica.

She noted that much discussion had been held on e-Government over the past three years, but observed that it was "still at the conceptual stage". She said that the focus should be on "defining these services and developing a design for their delivery".

Speaking recently at a regional information and communications technology (ICT) conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Dr. O'Meally Nelson pointed out that the establishment of e-Government would mean a greater level of convenience for persons transacting businesses with Government agencies.

"Our interaction with Government agencies need not be face-to-face, which involved travelling long distances and waiting many hours for attention. We can, in fact, have these services at our fingertips," Dr. O'Meally Nelson pointed out.

Citing examples of the benefits of e-Government, she said that application forms for passports could be downloaded, or they could be filled out on-line and returned for processing. "Tax payments, notices, application forms, registrations are but a few of the services which can be done on-line from people's homes," she added.

Dr. O'Meally Nelson said that given her department's extensive network, coupled with a current desire to get the counters at all outlets on-line, post offices offered the best strategy for achieving universal access and in "delivering e-Government services".

She also suggested that there should be a comprehensive review of the legislative framework within which Government would take place. "E-Government services have implications for such factors as intellectual property rights, confidentiality, security of information and devolution of authority," she explained.

Another element identified by Dr. O'Meally Nelson as critical to the development of e-Government was the establishment of a Fund to help in the procurement of equipment and the development of technical skills.

"Despite the various issues associated with the Information Technology (INTECH) Fund, it was clearly a move in the right direction, as there must be dedicated sources from which ICT development can be financed," Dr. O'Meally Nelson said.