As Government continues its digital transformation of the public service, Prime Minister Mia Mottley is urging the private sector to do the same.
At the same time, she is cautioning Barbadians not to get lost in the process.
The Prime Minister, currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, gave the advice in a video message at a reception for the inaugural Smart Barbados Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Monday night.
She said: “Our partnerships in the public and private sectors are the bedrock upon which we will transform Barbados from an analogue society to a digital society.
“It is our future to grab and we have to bring along our children and to ensure that as we introduce them to new forms of technology that they do not lose sight of the morals and ethics that make them who they are.
“We can become digital citizens while remembering who we are and continue to be rooted by the values that make us who we are. The technology, after all, is just a tool.
“We expect that we can see the transitioning across all our public services but we also want to see it in delivery of our private sector services and goods.
“We also want to see it with respect to how we literally ask our youngsters to create because we must not simply be the users of other people’s goods, but it is within our power to create and make a better future.”
Pointing to the changes already being made to transform government processes including in Cabinet, Mottley said she hoped that “the rest of Barbados, in whatever station, doing whatever you can, can best utilise the technology to make your life easier and more efficient and to ensure that there is greater productivity for this nation”.
She declared: “I say to you that as we do that, never forget why we are here and what we are intending to do and who we are to serve because technology cannot replace the essence of our being.”
The Smart Barbados Conference was organised by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology in association with a number of private sector organisations.
The conference, which will run until Friday, will cover a range of topics on digital transformation, including presentations by a number of overseas guest speakers.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology Senator Kay McConney said she was hoping to see more private-public sector partnerships as Barbados continues its digital transformation.
She said: “Smart Barbados then, is not just about what we do with technology but fundamentally it is what we do with our minds, how we create, how we design and how we problem-solve for this country.”
She also told the gathering, which included a number of ministers and officials, private sector bosses and other dignitaries, that for Smart Barbados to thrive, children must be involved.
During the four-day event, students are expected to visit the exhibits as they get a closer insight into some new technology.
During the conference, results of a consultation are also expected to be released, as officials identify impediments and come up with strategies to address them by way a roadmap that would include all stakeholders.