Estonia president urges region to develop “single, strong, digital CARICOM identity”

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Estonia president urges region to develop “single, strong, digital CARICOM identity”
Kersti Kaljulaid
Kersti Kaljulaid

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 26, CMC – President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia Tuesday urged Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to develop a “single, strong, digital CARICOM identity” in a changing technological global environment.

Kaljulaid, who is attending the two-day 30th CARICOM Inter-Sessional meeting as a special guest, addressed the regional leaders, focusing on how her country undertook the necessary development to become a digital society.

“Most governments are not providing their citizens with digital identities,” she said in her address to the leaders during their plenary session, adding “in the digital sphere, it is government’s business to provide secure identification.

“We have to connect each other,” Kaljulaid said, adding that the first advice to CARICOM is to do it together.

“Have a single, strong, digital CARICOM identity…whichever technology you choose, do it together; as long as it is secure,” she said, noting that one of the important steps taken by Estonia was to create the necessary legal space.

“Technology is safer than paper, but you still need legal space to protect it as well,” she said, adding that by tapping into technology, Estonia was able to tap into services that made the society more efficient.

“If people can apply for social services online, at least they don’t have to go into offices to queue [stand in line],” Kaljulaid said, noting that productivity gains, such as improved service levels, were achieved in Estonia through private-public partnership.

The Estonian President said her country was able to link crucial information about people and create a life-saving database.

“If you find someone lying on the street in a coma, you can easily identify them,” she said, explaining the significance of having digital medical records.

In her presentation, President Kaljulaid also discussed the data protection layer that Estonia added, noting that the system registers the names of persons who log in, and patients are kept abreast of who checked their information.

“If I see someone was in there (my digital medical file), I can ask why they were in there,” President Kaljulaid said, adding, “we have to justify”.

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