By NATARIO McKENZIE
THE Deputy Prime Minister yesterday said blockchain technology can revolutionise the way business is done in the Bahamas, and pledged: "We can be the digital leaders in this region."
K P Turnquest, speaking at the opening of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) seminar on 'Understanding Blockchain Technology', suggested its use could have helped prevent the much-publicised deportation fiasco involving Jean Rony Jean-Charles. He argued that it could have helped establish a record of his status in the Bahamas from the outset, given that blockchain is a record of digital events and transactions that occur across a network.
"There is no reason why a child that is born in the Bahamas cannot have a digital record established right then and there, and that record is transferred and travels with them as they grow. Agencies that need to add to the record can update the record," said Mr Turnquest.
A Supreme Court judge on Tuesday ordered the Bahamian-born Mr Jean-Charles be returned from Haiti to the Bahamas at the Government's expense, and that he be granted legal status within 60 days.
He was arrested and detained by Immigration officers during a routine status check on Fire Trail Road last September, and deported to Haiti having been being unable to provide officials with any documents or proof concerning his lawful presence in the Bahamas. He was never served with a deportation or detention order, and had never been outside the Bahamas.
"Blockchain technology will enable us to establish a record from the outset so we can avoid these types of issues," added Mr Turnquest.
He said blockchain can "revolutionise the way we do business in the Bahamas", and propel this nation from where it is presently to become "true leaders in terms of technology and the way we do business".
The Deputy Prime Minister said: "We are talking about putting the Bahamas on the cutting edge of technology and the way we do business". He added that cryptocurrency was one aspect of blockchain, and government is doing its research on ways to use this.
Mr Turnquest said he was "tired" of this nation seeking to emulate Singapore, noting that Singapore is chasing Estonia. "We want to be ahead of Estonia," said Mr Turnquest, adding: "We can be the digital leaders in this region."