I currently live and work in Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to teaching in the field of Educational Technology in the Faculty of Education, University of Trinidad and Tobago, I am active in the fields of Internet technology, Internet Governance, Cultural Development and Caribbean ICT issues. My native language is English, I speak, read and write Portuguese, and read Spanish.
My interest in and involvement with the Internet community began many years ago, working at the ground floor of events, providing on-line support in newsgroups to the programming community while based in the US. When I finally returned to my native Trinidad and Tobago in 1994, there was not yet an Internet connection to the island. I was instrumental in creating the first local websites accessible via private leased line from Puerto Rico, and when the commercial Internet finally arrived with the birth of our first ISPs, I advised one ISP as well as countless other commercial operations on how to use this new and exiting technology.
My engagement in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) continues since 2002. I became a member of the WSIS Gender Caucus and was appointed a member of the WGIG. I have also participated in the Internet Governance Caucus, working on policy documents and was seated as a member of the IGF 2010 NomCom. I am currently the Chair of the IGF NomCom. I have also represented the English-speaking Caribbean in many international fora, often times, the sole Caribbean representative. Since the beginning, I have worked with regional groups on outreach to get more Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) representatives in these international organisations. Given these specific experiences and having witnessed the dearth of representation from the South, I have worked assiduously to make those spaces more accessible to non-anglophones from the developing world. To that effect, I have sat on the Internet Governance Caucus Nominating Committee in 2010 and am currently Chair of that NomCom.
The Internet is poised to have a huge impact in many areas of national development. It is playing a significant role in economic, political and cultural development. In creating economic policies in countries in the developing world, the focus of many is no longer simple manufacturing or exploitation of natural non-renewable resources. The Internet is essential in the development of other new technologies, such as biotechnology, material technology, solar technology, manufacturing technology, which are also changing the technological landscape and affecting competitiveness. Fast, affordable and reliable connections to the Internet and development of mobile telephony are some of the new technological infrastructure that nations need to put in place in order to become or remain innovative and competitive.
Countries are using the Internet to deliver services to isolated areas - such as banking, financial, information, distance-learning and health services. The Internet enables companies to have a global reach and conduct efficient business transactions.
Given the vital importance of the Internet to development in the developing world, it is essential that ICANN receive inputs from these areas in policy development, as these policies being implemented now will deeply affect the development of these countries.
My first degrees and jobs were in the chemical manufacturing field. I have a BSc and an MS in Chemical Engineering, and worked in the petrochemical and chemical manufacturing field for several years. My second Masters degree is in Environmental Management. I linked my interest in the Internet and ICT to this field from a very early stage, putting safety data sheets online for public access in 1993. I returned home to Trinidad and Tobago after this degree since, at the time, the first local environmental laws were being passed.I have also been a performer in both song and dance from childhood. I also linked my interests in these areas with the ICT field, using ICT and the Internet to work in the development of culture as an economic driver. I have worked in the music industry, both in development and marketing of local artists as well as directing concert videos with names like John Legend, Rihanna, Lionel Richie, Ne Yo, Beenie Man, and Machel Montano among others. I’ve also been involved in our major cultural event, Carnival, since I was 2 years old. I was responsible for the very first Carnival masquerade band website to go online in Trinidad and Tobago, in 1995. I also was responsible for many online marketing firsts for the Carnival, including the first successful streaming of Carnival events in 2004. This has become one of the major revenue generators for local entrepreneurs in the past 5 years.
After years in the Government and private sector fields, I recently moved into academia, teaching at the University of Trinidad and Tobago in the field of Educational Technology. My interest here includes improving learning by the use of technology, building critical skills in the sector, and research in indigenous education materials and technologies.
With my unique combination of skills, I work more and more in the intersection of ICT and other fields of interest, such as tourism, culture, education and the environment.
These diverse experiences will definitely be a positive addition to the 2012 NomCom.
I was a NomCom appointed member of ALAC (ICANN's At Large Advisory Committee) from 2005 to 2007, and was Chair of that committee in 2007. Under my chairmanship, the ALAC successfully created 5 regional end-user organisations (RALOs) to ensure that ICANN's policies were influenced by the views of the global community of Internet end users. During my watch, this evolving ALAC submitted several policy commentaries and one major policy initiative to ICANN. I represented ICANN and participated in the IGF in Rio of 2007, where I facilitated a workshop on Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Outreach was a major focus of the ALAC in the transition from the “Interim” to the bye-law enacted ALAC. As part of this strategic outlook, we worked very hard to get ICANN’s translation and interpretation policy created and implemented. As a result, we can now proudly say ICANN meetings now have simultaneous interpretation in almost all meeting sessions, most important documents, especially policy ones are translated in the five (5) major United Nations languages and there is much broader participation from the non-English speaking world. I also acted as the At Large's liaison to the ccNSO at ICANN in 2007-2008. I sat as a member of the BCEC in 2010 and my most recent involvement has been as the Associate Chair of the 2011 Nominating Committee.
I am placing myself in candidacy for the At Large LAC NomCom position for the 2012 NomCom for many reasons. My particular passion with regard to ICANN in particular, and Internet Governance in general, is outreach. When I began my participation in the international IG fora, the standard participant was Northern (USA, Canada to some extent, and Europe), male, and older. The populations that are most impacted by IG decisions are young, from the developing world, and female. It’s vitally important that those populations have the space and place to participate in the decision-making that forms the Internet that will be so important to them both now and in the future.
I was brought into ICANN via the NomCom in 2005. The NomCom is the part of ICANN that really can work to bring in people from other than the traditional areas of the world and broaden the expertise available and experiences to be leveraged. The 2011 NomCom of which I am the Associate Chair, for example, placed a sharp focus on attracting strong female candidates from non-traditional geographical areas of the world. We managed to get a record number of female candidates. Unfortunately, the rate of participation from LAC was extremely low, and this should be a focus for 2012.
The ICANN Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT) made several recommendations towards the better functioning of the NomCom, with regard to increased transparency and accountability to the ICANN community. One major concern is the maintenance of confidentiality while being open and transparent per the ATRT. Another of my major focus areas in the 2011 NomCom was balancing these issues - managing the flow of information and balancing openness about the process with candidate confidentiality. There's still a lot to do with regard to the ATRT, and the next few years will be crucial.
I believe that my wide and diverse contacts in the region, my native facility with English, the working language of the NomCom, and my previous experience both in ICANN and in Nominating Committee work will make me a very valuable member of the NomCom and a very effective representative for the region.