Govt working to protect cyber assets from attacks – PM

…“no country or organisation is immune” – NDMA Head

The Guyana Government has embarked on an initiative aimed at developing a robust cybersecurity system that will protect against attacks that have the potential to devastate economies and inconvenience thousands of people.
This was revealed during the National Cyber Risk Assessment (NCRA) workshop, which is being facilitated by the United Kingdom at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) in Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown. The workshop saw about 100 representatives of various Government agencies gathering to enhance the security and resilience of the country’s critical national infrastructure (CNI).
Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony, National Data Management Authority (NDMA) General Manager Christopher Deen explained that workshop participants would be edified on national and transnational cyber risks.
Moreover, he said policymakers would be able to better allocate resources to appropriately manage these risks.
“As ICT [Information and Communication Technology] becomes more intertwined in our daily lives, we cannot ignore the ensuing threats that are associated with its use,” Deen stated.
The NDMA Head went on to emphasise that no country or organisation was immune to cyberattacks, as he outlined a few global examples that caused widespread and long-lasting impacts on economies and citizens.
As such, he contended that as the country continued its digital transformation journey, stakeholders must embrace prudent cybersecurity practices to ensure sustained provision of vital services and economic stability.
“No country or organisation is immune to cyberattacks. It is crucial that Guyana implements measures to prevent and mitigate such occurrences… As a nation, the identification of our critical assets and services is the first crucial step in securing our national critical infrastructure. The goal here is to implement a Cyber Risk Assessment Framework with specific guidance on cybersecurity postures, standards for all of our operators whether it’s Public or Private Sector,” Deen stated.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips, who also delivered remarks at the opening of the workshop, highlighted that Government would support investments aimed at strengthening its cybersecurity.
“It is our aim to develop a robust cybersecurity posture that will not only enable the protection of Guyana’s people, digital assets, and digital reputation, but also improve our country’s cyber resilience while fostering a culture of good online behaviour,” Phillips asserted.
The Prime Minister went on to state that Guyana must be capable of capitalising on the economic and social opportunities of digitalisation in a secure way while simultaneously protecting national security and public values.
To this end, he reassured that Government remained committed to developing the required infrastructure and providing an enabling environment to promote the use of ICTs across the country in keeping with the drive to enhance global digitisation and to eliminate the digital divide.
In the same breath, however, PM Phillips added that technological advancements could lead to vulnerabilities and cyber threats that can potentially endanger life.
“Cybersecurity is key to securing our digital assets. To achieve this, we [the Government] will continue to make and to support investments that provide opportunities for all Guyanese, especially organisations that make up our Critical National Infrastructure. This will ensure that relevant skills are attained to safely access and leverage ICTs,” he stated.
Additionally, Prime Minister Phillips expressed gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom for the initiative which strengthens cyber resilience by protecting CNI assets from cyberattacks.
In this regard, the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, OBE, explained that the UK has been working with many countries and supporting their NCRA efforts since 2018. She lauded the involvement of various stakeholders from both the Private and Public Sectors.
“It is important that we continue to share our learnings with one another if we have any chance in securing our national assets from those who wish to exploit them. We can never be 100 per cent secure, but we do need to stick together… As Guyana grows, this provides an incredible opportunity to see how we can strengthen our cybersecurity and protect from those risks,” the British diplomat posited. (G8)