CAVE HILL, Barbados – A Trinidadian, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) was honoured for her contribution to Caribbean Internet governance at Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Barbados Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on 21st June 2017 in Barbados.
Ms. Lewis was recognised for her pioneering work in establishing the first Internet Governance Forum in the world in 2005.
The Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), now in its 13th year, is dedicated to building capacity and fostering universal open, equitable and affordable access by Caribbean citizens to infrastructure linked to global information resources.
A visionary with a passion for ICT-enabled development, Ms. Lewis has been at the forefront of activities to advance effective use of the Internet and its resources in the Caribbean.
Senator Darcy Boyce in a video documentary highlighting her work, noted Ms. Lewis’ “all-consuming passion for getting the Caribbean to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve all aspects of Caribbean life”.
Surprised to receive the accolade, Ms. Lewis thanked the organising committee for the recognition of her efforts and commended them for the establishment of the Barbados IGF.
Ms. Lewis noted that in 2014, at the 10th CIGF she had presented a new approach for advancing Caribbean Internet Governance, which included the establishment of national IG Fora to advance the work of the CIGF in each country.
She congratulated Barbados for being among the first Caribbean countries leading the way in establishing a national IGF and expressed her satisfaction of being part of the inaugural Barbados IGF.
Ms. Lewis sated “The establishment of the Barbados IGF is a testimony of the determination of a diverse community of stakeholders to influence its development of the Internet for the benefit of the citizens of Barbados.”
She continued that her statement of Barbados influencing the development of the Internet was not an exaggeration because Barbados was already at the forefront of the Internet’s development, as a son of the soil, Mr Alan Emtage developed ARCHIE, Internet’s first search engine.
Mr. Emtage’s contribution was also recognised by the Barbados IGF. Ms Lewis paid tribute to the unsung Internet hero of Barbados and the Caribbean and hoped that the recognition of his work would inspire stakeholders in Barbados and the wider Caribbean.
Ms. Lewis took the opportunity to encourage the Barbados IGF, to move beyond “discussion” and to establish a Task Force to implement the decisions and plans that are conceived through the deliberations of the Barbados IGF in order to advance the national IG Agenda.
In 2012, Ms. Lewis was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin American and Caribbean Registry for Internet Numbers for her work in Internet Governance.