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Diplo Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (IGCBP): Karlene, it is a pleasure to have you sharing an interview with us! Can you please introduce yourself to our friends?
Karlene Francis: My name is Karlene Francis, I am the Project Manager for the OECS Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project.
The overall development objective of the project is to promote the efficiency, quality, and transparency of public services through the delivery of regionally integrated e-government applications that apply economies of scale.
The topics covered in the Internet governance course are very important considerations for the successful implementation of the regional e-government applications.
Diplo IGCBP: Can you illustrate to us how was the capacity building programme?
Karlene: I gained a lot of knowledge from the capacity building programme through the content, the assignments and the weekly interaction / exchange between the students.
I was simultaneously taking the on-line Internet Governance course and another on-line course on E-government Strategies. The course offered by the DiploFoundation was better organized and supervised. The methodology used by DiploFoundation ensures that the students read the material and also comment on each other’s posting prior to the weekly on-line meeting.
The meetings allowed free expression of thought and respect for each other’s point of view even if one did not agree with a position. I particularly enjoyed the exercise when we got a case about an alleged cybercrime which was committed in St. Lucia by a Russian citizen. The students were organized in two teams which had to defend their positions in court, the court was the weekly meeting. Everyone did their best to defend their positions and when logics failed, imagination and creativity was used in an attempt to convince the judge. The tutor, was the judge, and did an excellent job to control the participants while given a little leeway for free expression. In the end, her judgment was very objective.
Diplo IGCBP: What are your next goals and dreams in professional terms?
Karlene: My next goals and dreams are to continue to work in the field of ICT Project Management and share the knowledge that I have gained with others as well as utilize it in the implementation of projects. I also want to work with the St. Lucian team to establish an active Internet Governance Society.
Diplo IGCBP: From all the issues discussed, which ones meant more to you?
Karlene: I think the issue of harmonized legislation is most important because it is a goal that the Caribbean has been trying to attain for several years utilizing funds from several donors. In order for the Caribbean to effective compete in the global market, the countries must enact E-Government or critical pieces of legislation such as the E-transactions Act, Cyber Crime Act, Access to Information / Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection and Privacy Act and Interception of Communication Act.
These pieces of legislation are becoming critical because more services are being offered on-line and new services such as cloud computing require a robust legislative framework. What is at stake is the economic sustainability of the region by attracting investment and also protection of citizens.
Diplo IGCBP: Any final message?
Karlene: I would encourage people to participate in the DiploFoundation course. Their methodology ensures that the course is interactive, informative and interesting. Those who wish to learn about the OECS Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project can visit the webpage at http://www.oecs.org/projects/egrip