St Kitts and Nevis: Federal Parliament of St Kitts and Nevis have passed Electronic Communications Bill, 2021 on 18th February 2021 by the Minister of Health, ICT, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, & Talent Development, Akilah Byron-Nisbett.
This Bill provides for the regulation of an electronic communication network and an electronic communications service & for related matters.
Akilah Byron-Nisbett told its outline of its objectives, She said, “The enactment of the EC Bill in the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis will ensure a wider scope of regulations from telecommunications to ‘electronic communications’ and will also address things but not limited to: principles of fair competition; change of ownership of electronic communications companies within the ECTEL Contracting States; universal service and access; maintenance of an open internet with the adoption of net neutrality principles; the establishment of the NTRCs as body corporates; the setting up of a tribunal sovereign of the NTRC to hear unresolved disputes among licensees and customers; and the inclusion of more penalties for breach of the legislation amongst other things.”
Minister Byron-Nisbett noted that a significant component of the Bill is the inclusion of a robust administrative framework that promotes & preserves a vibrant sector.
“Mr. Speaker, the EC Bill includes the crucial elements necessary for an effective regulatory framework, such as the practical aspects of the regulatory authority, decision-making processes, liability, consumer protection, dispute resolution, and enforcement powers,” she added.
Minister also pointed out that the EC Bill will serve as a valuable piece of legislation for the electronic communications sector in the Federation because the goals of the EC Bill are to guarantee that market failure is avoided, to foster effective competition &most importantly, in my opinion, is to protect consumer attention and to increase way to technology and services. And I believe even now, as we move towards a digital economy, this means so much more in light of that Mr. Speaker.
The Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Minister noted that the Bill represents the Federation’s past, present, future advancements.
“It spoke to our past, present, and future, and it showed how the foundations that were laid we continue to build on and we progress in leaps and bounds in getting us as a Federation to where we need to get to in terms of our digital transformation and in no way we would take for granted the work that has been done and put in by others to get us where we are, not just in telecommunications but in every aspect,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett. “It also speaks to how resilient we are as a people and how we continue to do whatever we can to assure that we continue to progress this country.”
She used the occasion to thank the Honorable House members for their contributions in support of the Bill. She noted that she was pleased to have had the assistance of both sides of the House for such a very “important milestone landmark piece of legislation.” The minister believes that the Bill “will be able to push not only St. Kitts and Nevis but the whole region and members of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) states to even higher heights.”