A small state’s engagement in discursive processes for international Internet-related public policy and implications for its domestic Internet agenda

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Swift, Kevon
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
The Internet means different things for different people. In Trinidad and Tobago, ICTs including the Internet have often been hailed as a critical enabler for development in addition to an issue in its own right. That being said, reference to the Internet in Trinidad and Tobago is often lost within ICT and Development (ICTD) rhetoric and resultantly, national interests in Internet Governance diplomacy can be characterised as seeking the broadest set of developmental needs in the face of knowledge divides, unfamiliar diplomatic rules and problematic coherence on the home front. This dissertation explores the nuanced role of the Trinidad and Tobago State in achieving domestic Internet agenda and participating in external discursive spaces for international Internet-related public policy, where on the one hand the correlation between diplomacy and domestic Internet development is put into perspective while on the other, the particularities of being a small developing country provide the frame for the aforementioned aspects. The dissertation reveals that although the correlation between the development of substantive policy on domestic and global levels are low, and there is certainly room for enhancing Internet Governance diplomacy, there are some developments that suggest that the status quo is on the cusp of change.