THE PIRATES OF NASSAU AND EXPLORING THE ICT AND TELECOMS SPACE OF THE BAHAMAS, WITH JAMES CLARKE
An excerpt from ICTPulse. For full Podcast, please visit : https://www.ict-pulse.com/2020/11/ictp-130-the-pirates-of-nassau-and-exploring-the-ict-and-telecoms-space-of-the-bahamas-with-james-clarke/
A popular getaway for the rich and famous, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas covers approximately 13,878 square kilometres (or 5,358 square miles). Located north of Cuba, it is an archipelago comprising more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and has a population of nearly 400,000.
Similar to many Caribbean countries the Bahamian economy relies heavily on tourism. It is a popular cruise destination, especially for visitors from North America. Following tourism, banking and offshore international financial services are important contributors to the Bahamian economy; and in the 2020 Global Financial Centres Index 28, it was ranked second in the Latin America and Caribbean region, behind Bermuda.
In addition to tourism and financial services, the Bahamas has been gaining a lot of visibility in the ICT/technology space. Just a few weeks ago, the Bahamas was among the first countries globally to launch a digital version of its fiat money, called the Sand Dollar. Additionally, there have been plans in train by the Bahamian Government for one of its islands, Grand Bahama, to become a smart city.
It this with this context in mind that the country of focus for this instalment of our ‘Know your neighbours’ series is the Bahamas
INTRODUCING OUR GUEST
James Clarke is the Chief Executive Officer of Global Sun Integration Management, which is headquartered in Nassau, the Bahamas, and is a business consulting firm that specialises in end -to-end IT and project management services. He is also a Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Sea Grape, Inc., a cybersecurity firm that has positioned itself to be the leading security firm in the Managed Security Services Provider space in the Bahamas.
James has a background in Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, and over 20 years’ experience in that field. Prior to launching Global Sun Integration Management, in 2014, James held a broad range of positions, including Team Lead/Systems Specialist at the offshore bank, UBS, in the Bahamas for six and a half years, and Network/Telephony Team Leader, at the University of the Bahamas.
INSIGHTS INTO THE CONVERSATION
There seems to be a lot going on in the Bahamian ICT/tech space, so it was great to have a discussion with someone who seems to be plugged into the activities and developments occurring there. As a result, and based on the questions posed (see below), we were able to cover a broad range of issues:
To give us some context, can you continue with my initial overview of the Bahamas?
With regard to telecommunications and ICT, how developed is it in the Bahamas?
As a multi-island state how are the islands connected? And how accessible are telecoms and ICT services?
Is telecommunications and ICT services affordable in the Bahamas? How is the quality of the broadband Internet service, in particular?
Last year, parts of the Bahamas got severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian, to what degree has the telecoms and ICT infrastructure been restored?
In your opinion, to what degree is the Government and private sector in the Bahamas are leveraging ICT?
What do you know about the plans for Grand Bahama to become a smart city?
What is it like being an entrepreneur in the Bahamas? What do you think about the country’s start-up environment/ start-up culture?
What might be some of the idiosyncrasies of The Bahamas, and doing business in the Bahamas, that a foreigner might need to grapple with?
What are some of the tech-related or tech business related-trends you are seeing in the Bahamas?
What do you believe are the strengths of the ICT/tech space in the Bahamas? And conversely, what are some of the challenges?
What are some of the ICT/tech-related opportunities that you see in the Bahamas?