Wheatley Calls for Joint Select Committee of Parliament on ICT

Release Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 15:15

Opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT & Digital Society Development, Dr. Andrew Wheatley is calling on the Government to immediately convene a Joint Select Committee of Parliament to consider ICT matters.

Dr Wheatley said: "It is extremely important to have a parliamentary committee deliberating on issues confronting the ICT sector. This committee should be tasked with overseeing and expediting the creation of the ICT Act and the Data Protection Act which have been languishing for some time now. With a national system of identification set to come on stream in the future and the imminent move toward an electronic database of patients' records in the health sector, the need for legislative provisions regarding data protection cannot be over-emphasized."

The Opposition Spokesman continued: "The 14 year old Telecoms Act is outdated. It is not in keeping with new and emerging trends in the ICT sector and is not reflective of the dynamism that now characterizes the landscape. We have seen for example that while the technology minister has recently approved acquisitions in the telecoms sector, the absence of necessary safeguards in law, leaves us with virtually no conditionalities to ensure consumers protection and fair competition. This situation is untenable and unacceptable and requires the minister to end the delay and enact more progressive legislation."

In substantiating his call for a Joint Select Committee on ICT, Dr. Wheatley noted: “The ICT Act and the Data Protection Act are critically important and the Government's tardiness in pulling together the necessary mechanisms and stakeholders to bring them to fruition is doing the country a great disservice. A bi-partisan, consultative approach is needed to ensure that these two pieces of legislation are not just quickly implemented, but are comprehensive, reflective of industry trends, and are in the best interest of the Jamaican people. It is imperative that we ensure protection of citizen’s information while providing ubiquitous access to technology.”

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