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Whither Barbados?



I've cc'd (former cypherpunk) Vince Cate on Anguilla on this for obvious
reasons.

I got a bit of blurbuge in the USnail from the Barbados Investment and
Development Corporation (BIDC) on their 3rd Barbados Information Services
Converence, (Subtitled "Surfing the Global Net from Caribbean Shores" ;-),
February 26/27 1996.

The headers in the blurb were: Investment Management in Emerging Markets --
Information Technology Challenges, Network Security on the Global Net, New
Opportunities in Wireless Communications, Barbados -- the Carribbean hub
for Internet Access.

They promise a "Full Conference Programme available October 1, 1995", and
they seem to have a mailbot at [email protected]

Having inadvertantly <ahem> plugged their stuff with no idea whether it's a
waste of time or not, I have a few thoughts about this and about
data/banking havens in general.

First, here's what I know about internet access in the Caribbean, gleaned
from discussions with Vince, and by lurking on various caribbean newsgroups
(see soc.culture.caribbean), web pages, and mail groups:

First off, bandwidth down there sucks. This is probably because there
really aren't many people there, the ones that are there are pretty poor,
and they can't buy much phone time.  This is compounded by monopolies,
Cable and Wireless being the biggest, built on cozy relationships with
government officials, if not actual creatures of those government officials
themselves, amortizing their <exageration mode on> 30 year old centrex
switches with 50 year schedules <e.m. off>. To be fair, they have to have
long distance lines to the mainland, and those cost, whether they're
copper, fiber, or satellite.

All the shenanigans of third world politics apply there. Trinidad and
Tabago had an attempted coup recently, Barbados, I believe, is in the
throes of a constitutional crisis where the speaker of their legislature
can't be impeached because she won't conviene the committee to impeach
her...

Not to mention hurricanes, and in Montserrat, a volcano going off at the
moment...

The obvious reason I'm interested in this is regulatory arbitrage, of
course.  If there's a government that will let internet commerce and
privacy flourish there, then it flourishes everywhere on the net, national
borders or no.

I hear tell that Barbados is serious about converting its information
technology business from data entry and forms processing to
web-cluefullness. Given that their business development people don't have
their own domain name, they probably have a bit to go.

So, I have a little exercise...

If we were to tell the government of Barbados what it had to do to promote
the creation of internet commerce, what would we say?  Anyone here could
probably crank out a prima facie set of reccommendations, but I figure to
beat this to death canonically and have a little fun at the same time.

So, here a few categories to get started.  I'm trying to keep it relevant
to this group's charter.

Infrastructure
 Power
 Long distance
 Local wire
 Local wireless
Regulatory
 Financial Privacy Laws
 Telecommunications Competition
 Civil/Human Rights
   Privacy
   Business Deregulation
   Government intervention in the economy
Culture
 Religeous/Cultural tolerance (the Netherlands are tolerant, for instance)
 Education (talent pool)

Well, that's a place to start.  I'll try to plug in my 2 cents in another
posting...

Cheers,
Bob Hettinga






-----------------
Robert Hettinga ([email protected])
Shipwright Development Corporation, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131
USA (617) 323-7923
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
>>>>Phree Phil: Email: [email protected]  http://www.netresponse.com/zldf <<<<<