Government aims to put 200 services online in 5 years

Recently Cable Bahamas hosted the Think Beyond webinar, exploring the impact of digital transformation on the public and private sectors. Participants included Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance & the Office of The Prime Minister, Grand Bahama, Mr. Franklyn Butler, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman, Cable Bahamas Group of Companies ; Mr. Damian Blackburn, Chief Aliv Officer; and Ms Charnette Thompson, Vice President of Innovation, Cable Bahamas.

Minister Thompson discussed progress on the Government’s $30 million Digitization initiative funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) geared at making it easier for residents and businesses to do business in The Bahamas . The multi-year investment is allowing the government to digitise its services, strengthen cybersecurity, improve and increase the use of ICT in the Public Service. According to the Minister, the goal of the Government is to provide 200 services online in five years. He stated that progress to that end has been made, citing as a primary example the pilot roll out of several key services through the central online portal

Modelled after the Estonian online platform, the pilot MyServices online gateway allows many services to be requested from a single portal via an interoperability platform referred to as The Great Bahama Bank, which enables digital inter-agency connection. “We wanted to have one single platform that allows citizens to access our services in one location. This platform enables users to register, complete the verification process, and access all services online,” the Minister said.

Over 4,000 Bahamians are registered on to date and have access to high-demand services, including requesting police character references, renewing e-passports, renewing a driver’s licence or a firearm licence, and requesting certified copies of birth, marriage and death certificates.

In addition to increasing the accessibility to and ease of obtaining government services, use of the portal has also resulted in a reduction of lines at government agencies.

“Digitization can present opportunities for economic improvement and sustainable growth. Putting government services online is just the beginning of the Government’s digital transformation journey,” said Minister Thompson. “We know that that is an ambitious goal but we believe it is one that it is achievable.”