Region Six will soon see developments in the ICT sector

GINA/DPI GUYANA Saturday, June 10, 2017

“Government will soon roll out a number of initiatives in this region that will benefit all”, vowed Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes at a Ministerial outreach last evening. The Ministerial Outreach was held yesterday at the Nand Persaud conference Hall No 35 Village, Region, Six, East Berbice Corentyne.

Organised by the Region Six Prime Minister Representative, Gobin Harbhajan.The main objective of the outreach was to inform Berbice residents about the major projects completed by the Ministry of Public Telecommunications. Stakeholders were also informed about projects underway, which will benefit the people of Region Six. The ICT projects, which include training and Free Wi-Fi services, are directed specifically towards education, social development and private business sectors.

Minister Hughes gave several examples of how the region will benefit from ICT development. The example of measures being put in place enabling residents to apply for a passport online, without physically visiting the Central Passport Office, was cited by the Minister.

Additionally, Minister Hughes told the residents that ICT will also provide for improved services in the Health Sector. She said that if there is an emergency at a health centre or hospital and there is not a specialist to take care of the patient, the hospital or health centre, “can video call a major hospital in Georgetown and seek advice due to public internet connectivity.”

Minister Hughes also told the young people present that their Tertiary courses option has expanded. She made reference to the recent commissioning of the University of Guyana Turkeyen campus Teleconferencing Platform. This facility will enable students from the Tain campus to have access to courses that only offered at the Turkeyen Campus, via video calling.

The need for residents to embrace ICT development, and work together, was emphasised by Minister Hughes. She described the internet as a major component in entrepreneurship.  She gave examples of residents that have their own businesses, “whether they are selling tarmind balls, hammocks or even offering visa application services can market their products and service online so as to improve profits and awareness.” Minister Hughes reminded the residents that the “world is changing rapidly especially in the ICT sector and Guyana will not be left behind in this sector”.

Presidential Advisor on eGoverence and Chairman of the National Data Management Unit (NDMA), Floyd Levi said that the eGovernment unit will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to develop the region’s ICT. He also notified residents about the government agencies prioritised for internet access. These include Ministry of Finance, Health, Education, Security and Government Administration.

Levi said that in Berbice, the network runs from New Amsterdam to Corentyne Coast. He noted that this allows for ICT coverage on the East Bank of Berbice, while on the Corentyne internet access is available at Crabwood Creek.  Levi highlighted that the network that has been established in Region Six, is currently being used by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Supreme Court and the Land Registry.

Levi apologised to Black Bush area residents not connected to the network and said that technicians are currently working to rectify the situation. He also explained that the technicians are working to bean signals from Number 51 Police Station into the area.

Director for Community Development and Social Management, Phillip Walcott in ICT hubs his brief remarks highlighted to residents that there are eight ICT hubs established in Region Six in areas such as Crabwood Creek, Number 53 Village, Liverpool, and Smithfield among others. Assessments of areas, he added, like Whim, BushLot and Skeldon among other areas for the establishment of ICT Hubs are underway.

INTERACTIVE SESSION

Region Six residents raised a number of concerns with Minister Hughes and her team. A private school representative Bashir Khan, asked whether the school connectivity programme can be offered to privates schools, “providing that they meet the criteria of the Ministry.” Presidential Advisor on eGoverence Levi

Informed that the programme is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education but assured that the suggestion will be looked in too.

A suggestion was made, by Vikesh Ramnauth, that a Hackaton be held to showcase the talent of regional youths. Minister Hughes replied by saying that the Ministry realised that the region does have talent, She noted that several factors would have to be examined but assured that such an event will be held in Berbice in the near future.

Questions were also raised about Copy Right Laws and security in terms of legislation. Minister Hughes informed that this is an ongoing process.

Additionally, Director of Public Information (DPI) and Government Information Agency (GINA) Imran Khan in his remarks told residents that everyone in Guyana needs to embrace the fact that the world is changing rapidly in the ICT sector. He noted that young people will be the driving force for ICT development in the country.

Khan explained that the mind of young people in the country can create end endless possibilities and save lives when it comes to development of the Health Sector and ICT.

Khan also highlighted that all were aware of a great outflow of persons from the region for a number of reasons, but said he believes “that it will be reversed soon.” The Director told the residents that a number of benefits will come to the region with the emerging Oil and Gas Sector among other initiatives.

By: Gabreila Patram

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