Officially opening GIBC Digital on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, said that making Grand Bahama a tech hub will not only create jobs but a good quality of life and opportunities for young people. GIBC Digital announced their Grand Bahama investment at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in May, when they revealed they would hire some 50 people. To date, 25 have been hired and an additional 25 are in the process of being hired. Their office is located in the Jasmine Corporate Centre. Applauding the efforts of Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson — Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest noted it was Minister Thompson’s idea to have Grand Bahama become the tech hub of the region. With the introduction of the Commercial Enterprises Act, early successes are being seen and this is only the beginning. “It’s that kind of creative, collaborative legislation that is going to allow us to truly exploit the knowledge and creativity of our people,” said DPM Turnquest.
He added, “We recognize that Grand Bahama has always been the industrial capital of The Bahamas and we’ve had some success in tourism. But, these are becoming more and more competitive industries and the financial services sector, which we still hope to expand to Grand Bahama, is experiencing its own challenge. The one thing that we know, is that education gives us the opportunity to compete with anyone anywhere in the world and technology gives us the ability to do it. “This is why we were so excited about this whole concept of developing a technology hub. Because this will give our students, our young people, an opportunity to use what they’ve learned and expand their minds beyond the borders of The Bahamas. And in the process, earn a very good salary. “That’s the kind of partnership that we need. It’s not just about the job. It’s about creating a quality of life. It’s about creating opportunities for residents because as we all feel a sense of worth, and that we’re being rewarded for our efforts, it encourages us to be creative. It encourages us to work hard and to be committed.”
DPM Turnquest said it’s important to modernize and change the way we do business. Government is currently going through a transformation, starting with the Ministry of Finance. “We recognize, and you would have seen in this year’s budget, that the cost of doing business as a government is expensive. It is inefficient and if we are going to remain competitive with the rest of the world, we are going to have to streamline our processes, become more efficient so that we reduce this burden on the average citizen.” A single ID will be created, using GIBC Digital, that will identify an individual as a citizen to the government in everything they do. “The idea is that rather than having to request services from the government, the government will push service to you and make that process seamless and very much interactive from the comfort of your office or home. “That requires a lot of data; to ensure that the data is secure requires that we have a very robust cyber security system.
Again, that’s one of the services GIBC offers its clients, and certainly, we look forward to leveraging that knowledge in our own effort to ensure that whatever we do we protect the integrity of the system so that it engenders the trust and the use we anticipate.” Turning his attention to training, the Deputy Prime Minister said that there is no point in trying to be the digital capital of the region and not have the skills necessary to do it. This is why programmes are being introduced through BTVI and University of The Bahamas so as to make education affordable and accessible for students who want to participate. The official opening programme comprised a ribbon cutting, a tour of the facility, and Junkanoo celebration.