Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie this afternoon called on the National Information and Communication Technology Company Ltd (iGovTT) and the Ministry of Public Administration to play a more consistent role in developing and introducing information technology in government services and systems.
Tewarie made the remarks during his closing statement at a Public Accounts Committee sitting at Parliament, in which he said while he was heartened by some of the responses from the company and its line ministry, he was not comfortable with the pace of implementation within government services. He said citizens were "distressed" that online portals were still difficult to use and operate.
"I can't say that we have the comfort levels we ought to have, and are at the pace we need to be, given the pace of the rest of the world. I have a real problem with it. We have a long way to go as far as achieving the basics.
"The citizen is distressed when they can't get their business done through ICT services at a rapid rate and they have to take a taxi or a bus and come to Port of Spain. These things are really vital for us."
Chairman of iGovTT Dr Sean Rocke said one of the challenges of achieving a streamlined, centralised information technology pool was the lack of organisation, partly due to the different data demands of each ministry. He said to improve the level of co-operation and organisation, the company has served as consultants to various ministries.
But Tewarie said this was not enough to facilitate long-term development.
"One of the things the Ministry of Public Administration has to do is to empower you to act in each ministry you visit to make sure that this centralised network actually happens, or the process is just going to be slow, and if you don't have the authority and you just go in as an adviser – you know the realities of TT: nobody will take you on."