This past week the College of the Bahamas launched “COBIT”, its Information Technology Club, as a non-profit educational organisation focused on stimulating and sustaining the interest of information technology students.

Coordinated by the COB’s School of Business (Computer Information Systems Department), COBIT will work with industry partners to expose students to the realities of information technology — combining in-depth knowledge with hands on experience. Projects include web page design, building and repairing computers, and the use of different operating and networking systems.

As a services based economy, dominated by tourism and financial services, The Bahamas has had to move rapidly into the new technological age.

Commenting on the revolution that has occurred in information and telecommunications technology, the Minister of Finance noted that this has fundamentally changed the way countries relate to each other. He pointed out that there has been a shift in the centre of gravity in relation to global comparative advantage. This shift now means that countries everywhere can position themselves to participate in what is generally felt to be a services sector with a potential for exponential growth over the coming years. *”It is a revolutionary process playing out before us on a daily basis. One can think of no other phenomenon in our time which has so persistently captivated our attention,”* said the Minister.

The Bahamas Government has recognised that countries must be fully wired (i.e. have first-class telecommunications) in order to be integrated into the global market place, to benefit from the advantages of the Internet and to participate in the spin-off opportunities that are now arising.

For this reason, it has introduced its Telecommunications Sector Policy, which has been described as being sufficiently flexible to accommodate the dynamics of a revolution in technology, and at the same time sufficiently specific on Government policy, the regulatory environment and other matters to permit investors and the private sector generally to make informed decisions regarding telecommunications.

In its role as facilitator of e-commerce development in The Bahamas, the Government’s concentration has been on ensuring that the network infrastructure is in place, that the policy and regulatory environment encourages competition and facilitates the internet, that Government operations and processes themselves embrace the digital technology and, above all, that the education and training process develops Bahamians to live and work in a digitalised economy.

It is anticipated that e-commerce enabling legislation will be presented to Parliament in short order.