Empowering

Good Essays
Topics: Caribbean, Poverty
Intl. Inform. & Libr. Rev. (2003), 35, 335^358 doi:10.1016/S1057-2317(03)00020-1 Empowering Development Through
E-Governance: Creating Smart
Communities In Small Island States
WENDY UNETTE SEALYn,y

A B ST R AC T
An attempt is made in this paper to gain an understanding of the current and potential impact of the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the Small Island Sates of the Caribbean, in particular those populations living in rural communities. The introduction brie£y examines the impact of ICTs on society and calls for alternative channels for government to serve rural communities through the use of MultiCommunity Access Centres (MCACs) or information kiosks available at libraries, police stations, tourist information centres and post o⁄ces, as an e-governance initiative in the creation of ‘‘smart communities’’ and as a grassroots e¡ort. No analysis of ICTs on government’s functions would be complete if we did not address the growing debate on the digital divide.
In this paper a section is devoted to this and it summarily addresses the growing divide between the developed and the developing world and the potential of these islands to leap^frog barriers to information £ows and access.The heart of the paper examines the impact of the Internet on small island economies and the growing use of the Internet in key sectors of each economy. Since this paper is about governments’ use of ICTs to transfer business transactions onto the Internet to service their populace, some discussion is undertaken and considers ways in which innovation has impacted on governments’ services and the early attempts by some Caribbean administrations to implement e-governance. E-Voices illustrates how certain government measures a¡ect some vulnerable groups in society and ways in which they can broker power to participate in the process. Some key policy directions are proposed for

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Manager, Information Services Unit, Caribbean Development Bank,Wildey, Barbados



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