My Interview with Inshan Meahjohn, newly appointed CEO of iGovTT

I would like to thank iGovTT and the CEO, Mr. Inshan Meahjohn for facilitating this emailed interview for the benefit of readers and the public. Please share with your circles.

1. Tell us about yourself and your role at iGovTT?

As the newly appointed CEO at iGovTT, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute my expertise and experience gained over 22 years in various sectors, including business, government, and non-profits. My background has allowed me to gain valuable insights and a deep appreciation for growth, innovation, and societal upliftment. Having pursued education at esteemed institutions such as the University of Glamorgan and the Australian Institute of Business, I am humbled to be part of iGovTT, where my aim is to facilitate remarkable progress and digital transformation in information and communication technology in Trinidad and Tobago.

I approach my role with enthusiasm and dedication, recognizing that the journey towards growth and innovation requires a collective effort. Together, we will strive to shape a future where information and communication technology in Trinidad and Tobago reaches new heights. Our shared passion, collective expertise, and unwavering commitment to excellence will guide us on this transformative path.

2. What are some of the challenges faced by iGovTT?

Our mission at iGovTT is to enable national digital transformation. The challenges include not only technological change but also a societal mindset shift. We need to boost digital literacy, ensure our digital services are accessible to all, and protect our systems and citizens' data from cybersecurity threats. At iGovTT, we are dedicated to facing these challenges head-on, ushering in an era of digital excellence.

3. On the front page of your annual report states, "transforming government through technology". Should iGovTT be restructured and renamed to fit better with digital transformation of the country and the Ministry of Digital Transformation?

iGovTT has always adapted to change in the past and we will continue to observe the environment and adapt to serving our customers in the best way possible. Our dedication is to our stakeholders, staff, and citizens, serving them optimally. We will continue to monitor our environment and adapt to deliver superior service as required.

4. When is the next HackTT event and what can we achieve from this event?

In the near future, the Ministry of Digital Transformation is poised to unveil The Developers' Hub. One aspect of this innovative initiative could, in some ways, be seen an evolution of our previous HackTT initiative.

Stay tuned, as Developers’ Hub promises to serve as a powerful catalyst, accelerating our journey in the tech arena!

5. How would you describe the tech space in Trinidad and Tobago?

Trinidad and Tobago's technology industry is evolving, showing promise, and facing obstacles. With government and private sector support, digital technology has become essential for our economic development. Despite challenges, I see huge potential for growth and transformation in our country’s technology industry.

6. In what ways do you think Trinidad and Tobago can use technology to drive country development?

When I reflect on the transformative power of technology, I see its immense potential to catalyse meaningful changes in Trinidad and Tobago. This is especially true when we consider the three main pillars anchoring our national digital transformation strategy - the Digital Society, the Digital Economy, and the Digital Government.

Digital Society: It's crucial for us to ensure that each citizen has access to affordable Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). By fostering an environment where technology is reliable, robust, and accessible, we'll be empowering our citizens with the digital skills they need to thrive. Our goal is not just to equip our citizens with access but also to enable them to derive maximum benefit from digital technologies.

Digital Economy: Through the Digital Economy pillar, the government aims to increase the ICT Sector’s contribution to our economy. This is a joint venture, a journey we embark upon hand-in-hand with the private sector and in sync with the National Economic Recovery Plan. We want to create a future that echoes the mantra of "made by TT....for TT...and the World". From fostering online niche marketplaces to catalysing co-development through partnerships, we are leveraging technology to boost economic growth.

Digital Government: The government has a responsibility to serve its citizens efficiently, and digital transformation plays a pivotal role in making this possible. We are working towards digitising government information and services, making them more accessible via our government websites. We are streamlining business processes through the integration of suitable digital technology. Furthermore, we are taking the steps needed to create the necessary enabling environment for digital transformation. This includes promoting digital literacy across all segments of the population and ensuring accessible and affordable broadband access.

In essence, the intersection of these three pillars is where Trinidad and Tobago's digital transformation lies. It is a journey of collaboration, inclusion, and forward-thinking strategies.

7. What are your thoughts on free and open source software (FOSS)?

FOSS offers a new approach to software development, promoting openness, collaboration, and innovation. It allows individuals to freely access, study, modify, and distribute software source code, fostering transparency and continuous improvement.

8. What are your thoughts on work from home?

Our switch to a hybrid work model in the pandemic has been successful. We have managed to maintain our company's vibrant culture, while also demonstrating flexibility, productivity, and adaptability.

9. How can Trinidad and Tobago utilise tech to earn foreign exchange?

Technology can enhance productivity and quality in traditional sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, leading to increased exports. Also, growth in the ICT sector could see us exporting valuable services, generating foreign exchange.

10. How can tech bloggers help iGovTT meet its goals?

Tech bloggers offer a unique blend of analysis and commentary that helps demystify the world of technology. They serve as champions for digital literacy, promoting awareness and understanding. They are instrumental in preparing our citizens to fully embrace the digital economy and harness the opportunities it brings. To me, they are digital architects, building bridges to a tech-savvy future.

11. Anything else you would like to add?

In our shared journey towards digital transformation, iGovTT stands as a beacon of unwavering commitment. Let us remember, we are not merely observers or facilitators of this transformation, but also active participants and beneficiaries. Each one of us, as citizens and end-users, seeks and deserves access to swift, easy-to-use, and reliable digital services. By harnessing the power of technology intelligently, we can make this dream a reality. Together, we are creating a digital legacy - a vibrant future in which every Trinbagonian can thrive and take pride. Let this journey inspire hope in us all, for with unity and resolve, the digital horizon is limitless.

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