So where in the Caribbean are you from?

“I am from the beautiful island of Barbados.  I have been living in Trinidad for approximately the last 2 years and my job takes me frequently throughout the region.  I like to think of myself as being from the Caribbean because we are really one people but I happen to call Barbados my home and it’s a great place to call home.”

Rodney Taylor Speaking at the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum in Trinidad 2011

So tell us about your role at the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)

“I am the Business Development and Operations Manager for the CTU.  My job involves developing business proposals to provide professional services to the governments that are members  of the CTU.

I also seek partners and sponsors to work with us and support the various initiatives, seminars and programmes of the CTU, such as the Caribbean ICT Roadshow, Ministerial Seminars, Internet Governance Forum etc.

I am now acting as the Secretary General while the substantive SG is on leave. My duties for the period have been expanded to include the overall management of the organization.  The Secretary General is essentially the CEO of the CTU and ensures that it fulfills its overall mandate on an ongoing basis.”

What impact does the CTU have on the region?

“The CTU, which has been in existence for nearly 23 years, is the regional intergovernmental organization that has responsibility for developing a harmonized approach to telecommunications policy in the Caribbean.

Within the last 5 years it has also been seeking to harmonise information and communications technology (ICT) policy regionally as well, considering that there has been convergence of the telecoms and information processing technologies within the last decade.

What that means is that, for the 20 countries that form the membership of the CTU, we try to get them on the same page regarding what they are doing or planning to do in the area of telecoms and ICT.

This is important because it makes the region more attractive to investors; it also makes it makes it easier for Caribbean people, businesses and for anyone who has an interest in the region, to get on with their daily lives, to do business and to enjoy a seamless and hassle free experience in the Caribbean.

This is essential for the region to develop socially and economically and to be seen as a serious place to do business and as an ideal place to live.”

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced?

“The biggest challenge that we continue to face is that, while we all talk about one region called the Caribbean, it is really made up of a collection of sovereign nations.

Each one has its own aspirations, its own political, social and economic ambitions, its own cultural identity within a Caribbean context. We celebrate those differences and those ambitions but what we have to understand, especially from a business perspective, that most of our markets are relatively small when it comes to attracting investment.

Our strength, in this respect, is in our collective numbers.  If we can therefore work more closely together to have common approaches to common problems, while still maintaining our identity as sovereign nations, and work more closely together then it will be a win-win situation.

It also allows us to pool our scarce resources, particularly our human resources, as we are able to share knowledge and expertise when dealing with the problems that face us.”

What are the challenges and opportunities in doing business in the Caribbean?

“Some of the challenges to doing business in the Caribbean are related to the lack of harmonized policies and legislation in many cases.  If we speak about doing business in the “region”, because it is not yet a seamless place to do business, then this is a major challenge.

You may find one set of legislation that supports your business in one country and you may find legislation that outlaws your business in another, especially in a new technological environment where old and archaic legislation may not address these new areas and new business opportunities.

Rodney Taylor talking to Bob Kahn the Father of the internet at the Internet Governance Forum, India in 2008

This can be frustrating to an investor, whether from within the region or outside of it, who is looking to capitalize on the region as one market and benefit from economies of scale.  There are huge opportunities if we work together.  We can share our intellectual capacity, establish businesses that are truly regional and that are globally competitive. I cannot think of a better place to do business and enjoy a quality of life that is second to none.  You can’t buy or manufacture warm sunshine all year round, beautiful beaches and friendly people.

So in terms of a place to live and work, the Caribbean IS IT and if you look around you will see people who have the means to live anywhere in the world, call the region home for several months of the year and some of them have settled here for good.”

Who’s your idol?

“I don’t have an idol per se.  There are many people for whom I have a great deal of respect for the contribution that they make every day to enhance the lives of so many other people.

Some have acquired fame and notoriety and others have never been written about (my mother for example) but have made the world a better place to live by the knowledge and values that they have imparted to others with no expectation of a return.  I also have a great deal of admiration for the youth because they have the whole world ahead of them and they have the means to do exponentially more than we could ever dream of.

So when I see a young person, focused at a very early age, with a great deal of confidence and self-awareness, ready to take on the world, I have the utmost respect and admiration for them.”

So what’s next for Rodney Taylor?

“I have my own ambitions professionally and personally but it is important to focus on the task at hand because each opportunity and experience, if handled to the best of one’s ability, helps to prepare for the next level.

Rodney Taylor Kite making workshop with his son in 2009

For now, I’m focusing on doing the best job I can at the CTU, along with the wonderful team at CTU, to help the organization successfully fulfill its mandate.  How successful I am at doing that, will help to determine my next step.”

Where can we find out more about you and the CTU?

“You can find out more at www.ctu.int.  You can like us on Facebook along with the Caribbean ICT Roadshow.  We have a newsletter called Nexus on our site also at http://www.ctu.int/ctu-nexus and we are working on a more comprehensive strategy for online engagement so look for us soon on Twitter and YouTube.

Tempo Network has also been working on a production of the Dominica leg of the Caribbean ICT Roadshow to be aired on their network, Stay tuned for that. It’s going to be great!”

Rodney Taylor at the Jordan Iraqi Border in 2005