Govt committed to developing a stronger digital society.
─COVID-19 has highlighted the need even greater -Min. Cummings.
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 1, 2020
The Government of Guyana has answered the call to close any perceived digital gaps when it comes to COVID-19.
On Wednesday morning, Dr. the Hon. Karen Cummings, Minister of Foreign Affairs, participated in a Ministerial Conference on the Digital Response to COVID-19.
The conference, with Ministers of Foreign Affairs from various countries, looked at the impact of crisis such as COVID-19, specifically to figure out ways to turn these challenges into opportunities at building stronger societies which can withstand devastating social, economic and political emergencies.
As she addressed the conference, Minister Cummings reflected on the fact that COVID-19 has negatively impacted countries individual and collective health, education, and economic sectors, but noted that the Government of Guyana has been able to implement measures to curb the rampant spread of the disease.
“I am extremely proud to note today that the Government of Guyana has worked assiduously to implement major updates to our public health systems, and to put in place measures that will allow us to effectively counter any disproportionate spread of COVID-19,” Minister. Cummings stated.
Adding that health was not the only area the Government was using its digital capacity.
“In Guyana, we too have become preoccupied with this reality as our education system has been severely affected by COVID-19. Guyana through its Ministry of Education has undertaken several interventions to support distance and virtual learning. We have also embarked on increasing the number of educational programs through public television, media houses and interactive radio,” she shared.
However, the minister noted that while these measures have been implemented, there was still the challenge of lack of access to high-speed internet and e-learning materials in vulnerable and rural households.
To this end, Minister Cummings said Guyana continues to express its interest in collaborating with international partners to enhance its own digital capacity, thereby bridging the digital gap.
Guyana, the Minister added has been forced to confront the urgent need for digital services and much-needed improvements across sectors. This she said would ensure that agencies were capable of confronting all types of disruptions that future pandemics may bring.
“The truly innovative digital solutions highlighted in the Global Declaration, I believe, offer a road map for Guyana and other countries with similar challenges, to make the quantum leap into bridging the digital divide that impacts our responses and overall management of situations such as COVID-19,” Minister Cummings noted.
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister was also quick to point out that her Government supported the inclusion of language in the Joint Declaration that recognises the importance of redirecting international cooperation efforts towards the implementation of these digital transformations.
The meeting was held via video conference.