Open Source and Open Data initiatives taking the Caribbean by storm!
Good news, St. Lucia’s Government started their Open Data policy which has been in the making for the past four years. This is part of the Government of St. Lucia in partnership with World Bank Open Data policy, Code for Africa and the SlashRoots Foundation. On Friday, June 8, the island well known for its French culture, pulled back the curtains and officially rolled out the red carpet on their open data portal (data.govt.lc).
In the words of Sheila Hyacinthe-Imbert – Department of Public in St. Lucia “This is our hope for Saint Lucia. Open data is part of that overall data revolution. It’s a stepping stone to some of the data-driven technologies that are over the horizon.”
The open data portal provides an excellent opportunity for different entities to coordinate and share data on a range of issues. The main beneficiary of this project is the St. Lucia people as the dataset will be used to make informed decisions across different sectors. Having the dataset in one central location – in a standardized format – will revolutionise their ICT sector.
As St. Lucia continues to develop the ICT sector, other Caricom members will realize the benefits and possibly implement their version. This will help in fostering greater communicating and information sharing between member states.
Hit The Ground Running
As launching the portal wasn’t enough, they have taken the next step by sharing how to to use this newfound “gold”. In a two day bootcamp, Journalist & data enthusiasts were able to learn how the Open Data portal may be used in national development and research.
Here are a few additional links:
- Bootcamp page: https://saintlucia.dbootcamp.org/
- St. Lucia Open Data Portal: http://data.gov.lc/
- Open Data Benefits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxGTTDEtA3A
The Benefits of Open Source Technology.
Open Source technology continues to play an integral role in the development of the region and this project is no different. The Open Data portal is powered by an Open Source community called DKAN, with their Open Data Platform, which offers plug & play integration irrespective of the infrastructure. Did I mention that they are the world’s leading open data platform driven by enthusiasts passionate about community development?
To my knowledge, this is the second official Open Data portal launched in the Caribbean. The first being Jamaica having done their official launch two years ago (http://data.gov.jm/) has seen a constant increase in the number and type of dataset on the platform. The portal is a recommendation coming out of the Open Data Readiness Assessment carried out by the World Bank. The ultimate aim of this assessment is to provide practical recommendations geared towards nation building.
I look forward to seeing more Caribbean countries take up the mantle and use Open Source tools. Congratulations St. Lucia and many thanks to all parties involved!
Updated: July 15, 2018
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