Jamaica gets help in developing national cyber security strategy

The Organization of American States (OAS) says it is assisting Jamaica in the development of a national cyber security strategy.

The Washington-based hemispheric body said its Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) on March 19 concluded a three-day visit to Kingston, the Jamaican capital, as part of the technical assistance provided to that government for the development of the strategy.

The OAS said the initiative will be coordinated by CICTE’s Cyber Security Program in collaboration with Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

The Jamaica visit was led by OAS security specialists, with participation from members of the Commonwealth, the OAS said.

It said expert advice was given on various approaches that can be adopted in the development and implementation of the national strategy.

The OAS said participants were “guided through working group sessions to formulate the main tenants of the strategy.”

It said the three-day activity forms part of a larger offer of assistance aimed at helping Jamaica to develop its national cyber security strategy, and “will continue with appropriate follow-up support to facilitate the expedient development and adoption of the strategy.”

“The OAS is very pleased to be able to provide support to the government of Jamaica for the development and implementation of a Cyber Security Strategy, a critical area in the current global context, not only for the direct safety of persons but also for the economic, technological and social development of our nations,” said OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.

“The OAS has already supported in this task Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, and we hope to continue providing this support to the other member states that require it,” he added.

Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Science Technology Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, said the government of Jamaica “recognizes information and communications technology as being one of the most important enablers for the achievement of its vision of economic and social development.

“In our promotion of same, we remain mindful of the need to create a trusted environment whereby our people can feel confident in conducting their online and related activities,” he said.

In this regard, Robinson said the Portia Simpson Miller administration has embarked on several cyber security initiatives, including strengthening the cybercrime legislation and establishing a Cyber Incident Response Team (CIRT).

“This initiative with the OAS/CICTE is, therefore, consistent with the government’s thrust towards strengthening our cyber security framework,” he said.

“We, therefore, look forward to working with the OAS/CICTE in the coming days on this critical element of the government’s overarching framework,” Robinson added.

The OAS said the CICTE Cyber Security Program is the result of a decision by the OAS General Assembly to adopt a Comprehensive Inter-American Cyber Security Strategy in 2004.

“The organization was mandated to develop the cyber security capabilities of its member states with a focus on establishing Computer Security and Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs); to raise awareness on the importance of cyber issues and the creation of a culture of cyber security; as well as to support the development of cyber security policy frameworks,” the OAS said

As such, as of 2013, it said the program has assisted 19 member-states, including many in the Caribbean, through working closely with the governments to establish national CSIRTs.

The OAS said it has also helped three member-states to develop and officially adopt comprehensive national cyber security strategies.