NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Minnis administration plans to put at least 200 government services online within five years, a move which will make it easier and cheaper for Bahamians to access those services Senator Kwasi Thompson said yesterday.
Senator Kwasi Thompson who was addressing an Inter-American Development Bank Caribbean Cybersecurity conference at the Baha Mar resort yesterday noted government has plans to pilot the online application of driver’s license renewal, e-passports and birth certificates as well as an additional 30 services on its online platform by mid-2020.
Mr Thompson stated, “We have plans afoot to conduct a pilot involving the application of drivers license, renewal of e-passports and application of birth certificates by the middle of 2020, as well as add another 30 services to our online platform within the next year. The sharing of personal data, over the internet has its own vulnerabilities and we must address this reality in a proactive manner.”
He noted that cybersecurity has even more relevance as the government embarks on its e-government digital transformation project. “We intend to put at least 200 government services online within five years, a move which will make it easier and cheaper for Bahamians to access government services. A few days ago, we introduced the first phase of the online passport application service which allows citizens to apply for their passports online. Citizens can now complete applications online, upload documents and complete the process by paying for the service. Online payments will be made possible by the Cashless Platform project which is currently underway and is at an advanced stage. This platform will allow for online payments via credit and debits and enables online receipting,” said Mr Thompson.
He noted that cybersecurity requires multi-stakeholder involvement and collaboration for success. “Stakeholders must be dedicated, available, and accessible; and actions of the collective should be consensus driven; and last but not least there must be transparency and accountability,” he said.
“The Government of Bahamas is committed to Cybersecurity, adapting international standards, engaging stakeholders, and fostering collaborations on multiple levels. The Royal Bahamas Police Force has formed the Digital Forensic and Investigative Unit to deal with present cybercrime and threats. We also through our IT partners and government service providers have access to industry leading cyber security infrastructure. In 2003, The Bahamas enacted the Computer Misuse Act, which provides criminalization of and procedural law for cyberattacks and related malicious acts. Parliament also passed the Data Protection Act (2003) and Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (2006) which safeguard the rights of citizens on the web and establish regulations for e-commerce and other online services,” said Mr Thompson.
Thompson noted that The Bahamas has recently entered discussions with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) directly with a view to performing a National Cyber Security and CERT readiness assessment within the next six months, facilitating the National Strategy and Plan within nine months.