Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator J. Kwasi Thompson and Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister Elise Delancy were invited to participate in an Executive Training for Caribbean policymakers and managers, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank, which took place October 15th and 19th, 2018, in Tallinn, Estonia. The aim of the Executive Training was to provide Caribbean policymakers and managers with the necessary tools to develop and strengthen participating countries and nations’ capacities in digital government and make a wider and more efficient use of ICTs in the public sector. “The training program will help to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Government and to identify best practices and knowledge to improve the quality of government services and, therefore, increase citizen satisfaction,” said Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson.
The executive training exposed Sen. Thompson and PS. Delancy to E-Estonia and their achievements in E-Government Services. In Estonia, 99% of their Government Services are online services, which are available 24/7. They provide their citizens with e-services such as e-school, e-banking, e-police, e-health, e-tax, e-business, I-voting, and e-Cabinet.
Estonia is considered to be the world leaders in E-Government. “We have embarked on making Grand Bahama a tech hub,” noted Minister Thompson. “If we truly want to see real results, we must begin to make giant leaps to catch up with the rest of the world on how we provide Government services for our people. “We should begin to take steps to make Government offices paperless and integrated, which means all of our offices and Ministries be connected online and all can be accessed online. “At present, all Ministries have made progress to varying degrees on digitizing their services, but we must begin to integrate those services online to make it easier for Bahamians. If we move towards a system of integration Bahamians would not have to bring a paper birth certificate or passport to every government office where they conduct business. If the service is online they can access these services from their homes. It would forever change the way we do business and finally give our family island communities the same access to service.” Minister Thompson noted that in Grand Bahama e-Government will be a necessary factor to attract international Technology companies to invest in Grand Bahama and improve the island’s economy.