E-Business Advisory Board in limbo

The e-Business Advisory Board, established as part of The Electronic Transactions Law, 2000, has failed to meet in at least four years and appears defunct.

In spite of that, its name appears in the Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure’s budget under the appropriation titled ‘Management of KY Internet Domain’ with the description ‘Consultation with all stakeholders, including the E-Business Advisory Board’.

When questioned about the item by MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, Minister of Communications Arden McLean said that as far as he knew, the board had never been convened after it was created by the previous administration. He changed that view after consultation.

‘It has been established; it just hasn’t met since 2003 or 2004,’ he said.

Asked why the board was mentioned in the budget, Mr. McLean said the Information and Communications Technology Authority would consult with the e-Business Advisory Board whenever the need arises.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly asked why the board had not met. Mr. McLean explained the board itself was not under his ministry. After some consultation, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said it fell under his ministry.

‘This appears to be one of those dangling revelations,’ he said, explaining that he was made aware that the e-Business Advisory Board falls under Computer Services; that Computer Services reports to the Cabinet Secretary; and the Cabinet Secretary reports to him.

‘I had absolutely no knowledge of this until today,’ he said.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly asked why there had been a failure of the Cabinet Secretary in advising Mr. Tibbetts ‘about this most important board’.

Mr. Tibbetts said he would look into the situation and report back to her.

Further confusing matters is the fact that on the Cayman Islands Government website, the E-Business Advisory Board is listed under the responsibilities of Minister of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce Charles Clifford. Mr. Clifford, however, did not attend Finance Committee on the days Mr. McLean was questioned, so he could not shed any light on the subject.

The e-Business Advisory Board established in The Electronic Transactions Law, followed from work of the e-Business Task Force created in 1999 to help government strategise how it could develop e-commerce as a third leg of Cayman’s economy.

One of the things the board did in 2002 was request a report on e-commerce from the Cayman Islands Bankers’ Association to provide government with a better understanding of that organisation’s outlook on e-business.

Although the Finance Committee was told the e-Business Advisory Committee had not met since 2003 or 2004, the board and its members are still listed on the Government website. Board members listed include ICTA Managing Director David Archbold; Chamber of Commerce CEO Wil Pineau; radio personality Ellio Solomon; and business owner Paul Byles. Non-voting members include Burns Conolly and. Raul Nicholson.

Mr. Solomon was asked Friday if he had ever been removed as a board member.

‘Not that I know,’ he said. ‘I’ve never received any notification of my removal.’

Mr. Solomon said the last time he met with the board was probably 2003.

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