September 18, 2020

OAS co-hosts launch of Jamaican national cyber security strategy

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oas_logoKINGSTON, Jamaica — The Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday (4) co-hosted with the government of Jamaica, the launch of the country’s national cyber security strategy in Kingston, Jamaica.

The OAS cyber security program has been working with the ministry of science, technology, energy and mining (STEM) of Jamaica to develop the government’s national cyber security strategy since last February. The development process was facilitated through the establishment of a national cyber security task force comprised of a multi-stakeholder grouping of public and private sector actors.

The national cyber security strategy was validated by the task force in September 2014 and approved by the government in January 2015 and covers four pillars: technical measures, human resource and capacity building, legal and regulatory issues, as well as public education and awareness.

During the ceremony, the assistant secretary general of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, said, “It is my privilege to stand before you today to celebrate with the government and people of Jamaica on this momentous occasion and offer my sincerest congratulations on behalf of the OAS on the approval of the national cyber security strategy. The digital revolution, which we are all witnessing, continues to challenge the way we are accustomed to doing things. The innovation in ICT has been a tremendous vehicle for economic growth but it has also left us vulnerable to illegal use and new forms of threats. I would like to reiterate our thanks not only to the governments of Canada and the United States but also to the United Kingdom. I also wish to express my appreciation to the CICTE Secretariat and the small but effective team of experts who have assisted countries in this effort over the last ten years.”

For his part, the minister of STEM of Jamaica, Phillip Paulwell, expressed his appreciation for the technical support of the cyber security program for the development of the national cyber security strategy, and stressed, “It is my belief that we all – private sector and public sector – must be proactively engaged in the development of solutions if we are to free ourselves from the proliferation of cybercrimes. Minister Robinson has had the leadership role in this initiative and there is no doubt that with his tenacity and focused view we will see the implementation of the strategy.”

The minister of state in the ministry of STEM of Jamaica, Julian Robinson, pointed out the importance of this initiative: “You are as weak as your weakest link and no country is immune to cyber attacks. We are not launching a fancy document that will stay on a shelf and gather dust. We are launching a practical and implementable strategy. We have identified local assets who we will train and invest in to ensure they can be equipped to deal with threats and form part of our national incident response team. The launch of the strategy is an important milestone and not an end in and of itself. I pledge my commitment to its implementation.”

The Commissioner of Police of Jamaica, Carl Williams, said, “ICT is growing at a fast rate and the growth of the internet and social networks in cyberspace demonstrates how great the threat is. We would like to thank our strategic partners who have been with us and supported us, especially the OAS and our strategic government partners who have assisted us in building state of the art labs.”

This initiative was supported by the financial contributions of the governments of Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, whose ambassadors participated in the ceremony.

The British High Commissioner to Jamaica, David Fitton, said, “The UK strategy launched in 2011 includes as one of its priorities capacity building in partner countries. So we were pleased in 2014 to assist the OAS to help with the development of Jamaica’s own strategy. I wish it every success and trust we can continue working closely with Jamaica on this in the future.”

The Canadian High Commissioner in Jamaica, Robert Ready, noted, “Cyber security is important for all digital citizens. Canada is committed to working with Jamaica and the entire hemisphere through the OAS and with international partners to advance their important cyber security framework.”

The United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno, said, “We are very enthusiastic about the Jamaican government´s formation of a national cyber security strategy. As we have seen in the United States, a good strategy requires the whole of government to work in partnership with industry. The United States is proud that we supported Jamaica in developing this strategy, together with the UK and Canadian Government, as well as through the great work of the OAS.”

In addition to its recent work with Jamaica, the OAS has helped Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago to draft and adopt their national cyber security strategies. The OAS is also working with Dominica and Suriname on a national cyber security plan. In the upcoming months, Paraguay and Peru will also begin this process.

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