Bernadette Lewis was appointed to the position of Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in August 2003 with a mandate to revitalise the organisation. Under her stewardship, the CTU has been transformed into a relevant and vibrant information and communication technologies (ICT) Caribbean organisation.
In 2004, Ms. Lewis spearheaded the expansion of the CTU’s membership to include diverse ICT stakeholders, taking the membership from 14 Caribbean governments to 31, made up of governments, private sector and civil society organisations. The CTU is now a multi-stakeholder organisation at the forefront of activities to harmonise policies and practices for the development of the Caribbean ICT sector. It has a demonstrated track record for successful harmonization of ICT policies and coordination of regional ICT projects.
In 2005 the CTU, under Ms. Lewis’ direction, initiated the first regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in the world, and has since convened 12 annual Caribbean IGF, held in different parts of the region. In 2012, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin American and Caribbean Registry for Internet Numbers for her seminal work in Caribbean Internet Governance. In June 2017, she was also honoured by the inaugural Barbados Internet Governance Forum, hosted by the Barbados Chapter of ISOC, for her pioneering work in Internet Governance.
A strong proponent for ICT-enabled Caribbean development, Ms. Lewis has advocated for the use of ICTs through Ministerial Strategic Seminars and an initiative called the Caribbean ICT Roadshow. The Roadshow initiative is designed to raise awareness and educate on the power of ICT and how they may be effectively employed to enhance every sphere of endeavor in the region. The Roadshow has been held 23 times in 18 Caribbean countries. Concurrently, Ms. Lewis has been a champion for improving Cyber Security in the region and was instrumental in the development, with the Organisation of American States, of a Caribbean Cyber Security Framework in 2012. The Framework was the foundation of further work done, which has resulted in the first approved Caribbean Cyber Security and Cybercrime Action Plan in 2016.
In 2013, Ms. Lewis initiated a programme for using ICTs to empower People with Disabilities (PWDs). The programme has since been held and well received in six Caribbean countries. In 2016, she is working in earnest with a globally recognized partner in the field to provide regional Video Relay Service (VRS) for the Deaf and Video Relay Assistance (VRA) for the Blind. Hitherto, such services were only available in large, mainly metropolitan countries.
Ms. Lewis is passionate about and dedicates her work at the CTU to ensuring that all citizens, business and governments of the region have affordable access to and are able to benefit from effective use of ICT.