Categorized | National News

URCA to Host 17th Global Regulators Symposium

With regulatory bodies from at least 60 countries from around the world converging in the capital, the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) gets set to host the 17th Annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-17).

Organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), with the theme “Living in a World of Digital Opportunities,” Chief Executive Officer of URCA Stephen Bereaux stated that the symposium holds enormous promise for The Bahamas.

“Last year, we would have been speaking in an arena with a monopoly in cellular telephony. Today, we have a liberalizing market, increasingly competitive and robust, which is already experiencing improvements in service and pricing,” Mr. Bereaux said.

“URCA has noted that a guiding principle of the government’s economic agenda is the ‘creation of a more open, productive, and competitive society and economy’ which the government asserts is essential to The Bahamas’ ability to compete successfully in today’s global environment.

“Another guiding principle is that the private sector, in a competitive environment, is better able than the government to deliver goods and services to the public.

“The ICT sector presents perhaps the most promising platform upon which we can build and enhance Bahamian society and our economy.

“The pervasiveness of ICTs and their ability to introduce efficiencies into any social or economic endeavour, represents immense potential for growth.

“However, to realize these benefits, the regulatory and policy environment in which we develop the ICT sector, must be nimble, flexible and transparent.”

The symposium will highlight talks between regulators, policymakers, industry leaders and other ITC stakeholders, and according to Mr. Bereaux, this is an important factor.

“Today, ICTs underpin everything we do, in an increasingly interconnected world, a world where the Internet of things is fast moving to connect everything we use,” Mr. Bereaux said.

“ICT is the adhesive that holds us together and shapes our communities, countries, regions, and world. ITU is the single global organization embracing all players in this dynamic and fast-growing sector.

“This is the backdrop against which the ITU does its work of allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, developing the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and improving worldwide access to ICTs.

“We are delighted to have been able to attract the ITU to The Bahamas for this flagship event.”

Mr. Bereaux further stated that the symposium will also include discussions against cyber attacks with the increasing use of digital financial services.

“For GSR-17, the ITU, with our input, has selected topics that are not only at the leading edge of the international ICT debate, but that are also of importance to us and our guests,” Mr. Bereaux indicated.

“The pre-event debate on the security of digital financial services is a critical topic for many countries that, like The Bahamas, boast financial services as a pillar of their economy.

“Key Bahamian policymakers and professionals will be at GSR to participate in these deliberations which will include a simulated cyber-attack and expert discussions which will help us to secure our financial services sector from this pervasive threat.”

Corporate and Consumer Relations Manager Mavis Johnson-Collie explained that the symposium will begin with a series of pre-events on July 11-12 including a pre-conference themed “Global Dialogue on Digital Financial Inclusion: The Security of Digital Financial Services.”

“URCA has organized several social events for conference delegates which will afford the international delegates the opportunity to see some of our beautiful country, and experience our delightful Bahamian culture,” Mrs. Johnson-Collie said.

“The highlight of these will be the official gala dinner at the Baha Mar Convention Centre hosted by the Prime Minister of The Bahamas Dr. the Honourable Hubert Minnis and Mrs. Minnis.”


The ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), and drives innovation in ICTs through its membership of 193 states and almost 800 public and private sector entities and academic institutions.

GSR-17 marks the first time during its 17 years that the global symposium for regulators is being held in the Caribbean, and only the second time in the Americas.

It is expected to attract around 400 international delegates including ministers, heads of regulatory authorities, other senior policy officials, and telecommunications industry leaders from the ITU’s membership.

The Secretary General of the ITU His Excellency Houlin Zhao, the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunications Development Bureau Brahima Sanou, and other senior ITU officials will also be in attendance.

The four-day symposium, while primarily for regulators, senior policymakers, persons who work in ICT or ICT-related environments, and the general public are invited to attend the conference, July 11-14 at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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