Caribbean turns to apps for e-government strategy

Government in the Caribbean to publish government related data through five distinct apps.

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbeans will roll out five mobile apps as part of its e-government thrust. The apps will provide information on consumer affairs; crime prevention; information service; government-supported events; and include listings of the government directory. These will be officially launched on February 15. The Consumer Affairs app will provide information on where to get the best food prices. “You go on that app and you can find every bit of information you want in terms of prices and so on. So before you leave home you could determine I’m going there or here because I get the best price here on this particular item”, Ambassador Sydney Osborne - Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Government’s second anniversary celebrations - told Working For You, a weekly government radio talk show. The Crime Prevention app allows residents to report potential and criminal activities, and get crime prevention tips, while the Information Service app will publish “all the information you want in terms of government publications”, he said. Saint Kitts and Nevis ranked 94th place in the 2016 United Nations e-government survey. Other Caribbean nations are also building mobile apps as a key part of their digital strategy. Last year, the Jamaica Constabulary Force rolled out Stay Alert, an app for users to send alerts to the police during emergencies, and receive tips and news updates from the task force. Further afield, the Bandung city government in Indonesia has set a similar approach - mandating 300 apps to be built each year. Officials believe that this is the more effective way to reach out to its citizens as a majority of them use smartphones. But the UK has banned the creation of mobile apps because they are “very expensive to produce, and they’re very very expensive to maintain... you have to keep updating them when there are software changes”, Ben Terrett - former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service - told GovInsider. The UK was ranked in first place in the 2016 UN e-government rankings. Read also: Why Britain banned mobile apps Image by Roger W, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0