#Freeport, Grand Bahama, June 21, 2018 – Bahamas – The Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister, will launch a program that will allow 150 students in Grand Bahama and Nassau to take part in an innovative High Tech Summer Training Program.
“Over the next three summers and before they graduate high school, they would have obtained IT certifications,” said Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson.
“The certifications which they will obtain will be in Python Development, Website Development, Java Script, Linux Fundamentals, Network Certification and others. We are focused on training and capacity building for a digital economy.”
According to Minister Thompson, the program, which was the brainchild of the Prime Minister, will begin on the 27th of this month. The announcement came during Minister Thompson’s address at the opening ceremonies of the first Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, at Grand Lucayan resort on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. The conference will close on Friday, June 22.
Minister Thompson told conference delegates that The Bahamas is in the final stages of completing its framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency and will closely monitor the discussions and recommendations from professionals and panelists at the 2018 conference.
“Over the next three days we seek to realize our goal of facilitating investments, starting and developing companies, and building business relationships with Blockchain technology companies,” said Minister Thompson.
“We hope that through this conference we see the establishment Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and FinTech enterprises, which we anticipate will transform financial services in The Bahamas and continue to do so globally.
The Minister said that the conference is truly a historic event and one that is in line with the government’s overall goal for Grand Bahama.
“Upon taking office last year, this government dedicated itself to making The Bahamas a premier place to do business. We firmly believe that Grand Bahama Island is uniquely suited to become an internationally recognized technology and innovation hub.
“As such, we have set out to establish Grand Bahama as this region’s Silicon Valley.”
Minister Thompson noted that in November of last year, the Office of the Prime Minister (Grand Bahama) hosted its first Technology Summit, which was instrumental in beginning the strategic planning process of building a technology sector for The Bahamas. He said that the government has since begun implementing recommendations of the Steering Committee.
The hosting of the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference is the coming to life of one of those recommendations.
“Over the past year, we have made significant progress on this Technology Hub initiative,” said Minister Thompson. “The Committee has met and has provided the government with a strategic plan on how we move forward.
“Our Prime Minister, who has been Grand Bahama’s champion, has led a delegation on a Tech Trade Mission to Austin, Texas, to meet with Tech Giants. The Commercial Enterprise Act has been passed and Technology companies have already been fast tracked and approved. We have formed an investment unit in the OPM Grand Bahama, focusing on investor white glove treatment particularly for technology companies. These officers are on site and ready to assist local and international investors. We are focused on cutting down the approval time for applications with a goal of a 30-day approval process.
“The Ministry of Finance has embarked on a Digital transformation process of government which will bring immediate change for our citizens. We have also attracted major technology company conferences. For example Dell has communicated that over 1000 employees will be in The Bahamas for their 2019 conference. We have also seen the recent opening of GIBC Digital who has already begun hiring and training a total of 50 Bahamians and will officially open this month.”
Minister Thompson said it is his belief that Grand Bahama is well on its way to becoming ‘the’ premier place to do business. He welcomed investors to dialogue with the government to set up business on the island and find their second home in Grand Bahama.
By: Andrew Coakley (BIS)
Photo Caption: Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson was one of the main speakers at the opening of the Bahamas Blockchain Cryptocurrency Conference on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at the Grand Lucayan.
(BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)