OLPF programme - First 1,000 laptops distributed to most vulnerable
Written by Johann Earle
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 03:22
Source - Guyana Chronicle
A recipient smiles as she receives her laptop from President Jagdeo at the National Cultural Centre yesterday.
Government yesterday distributed the first 1,000 laptops under the One Laptop Per Family project, and will during this week hand over the remaining 4,000 out of a batch of 5,000 which arrived in the country by air last week.
Delivering the charge to the recipients of the new computers at the National Cultural Centre was President Bharrat Jagdeo, who urged them not to sell the laptops. He said that if they do this, it would be like selling a potential billion dollar opportunity for an immediate gain of $100.
Further, he disclosed that as a result of the contract to supply the computers, Haier, the Chinese firm that won the bid, will be establishing a manufacturing plant in Guyana in order to supply Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean with computers and appliances.
From today, the remaining 4,000 families will begin receiving their laptops at IT hubs nearest to them. The first wave of recipients are persons who are students and vulnerable, such as single parents and the differently-abled.
Dancers entertaining the audience with a performance, the highlight of which was this lass bearing one of the laptops.
“Today I want to talk to you about the great possibility that you have at your disposal...it is just plastic and metal, but it offers great hope for transformation in your personal lives and in our country,” he said.
“The sector we are trying to create is a sector that has the greatest potential for the future,” the President said. Directly addressing the participants, he said, “You will be a part of that process.”
He said, “We have 180,000 households in Guyana, and 90,000 of them will receive a computer from the government, half of the families in Guyana.”
The President also expressed confidence that the programme will continue under a Donald Ramotar presidency, should the PPP/C win the elections come November 28.
The President performing the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the handing over of the first phase of laptops yesterday.
He said that he sees the event as the beginning of a partnership between the government and the people of Guyana. “The dream is a simple one: that every household has a computer,” he said. He added that all that is required is that the recipients give 30 hours of their time participating in training others, as they have been trained under the programme. “This project will help Guyana to regain a spirit of volunteerism,” adding that it will bring Guyanese together and make the country more competitive.
He said that while 57,000 of the laptops have been secured, funding has been secured for the remaining 33,000 laptops.
The programme was announced by the government two years ago, and since then it has been working to get to the point where people would actually receive a laptop. “This is not the end. It is just the midway point in what we hope to achieve,” he said, adding that there is no reason why, with this initiative, Guyana cannot become the most computer literate country in the world.
The President assured that the computers do not have ‘bugs’ on them for tracking people, and that they should not be fearful nor listen to the naysayers spreading the falsehood about the programme.
He said that if the gap between the rich and the poor is closed by the government through this initiative, then poor people’s children will have access to the technology that could change their lives through the creation of opportunities. “The new world, as you know, will value education and knowledge more than anything else. So that is a compelling case for us to close this gap in our country itself,” he said.
A woman with a disability receives her laptop from the President. Looking on are Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar.
“This is why in the PPP/C Government we have outlined a new economy...an economy of the future, an economy that makes the traditional sectors more productive, but at the same time branches off into the new sectors that will generate the jobs and wealth for all of our people, so all of our kids could be employed,” he said. Some of these new sectors, he said, are oil and gas, the environmental sector, plantation type agriculture, eco-tourism and ICT. “This sector that we are trying to create is a sector that has great potential for the future...potential to transform our economy and transform the way we live,” he said.
“Today, many of you are going to be closer to being part of that future and of the new economy and of transforming Guyana,” he said.
Since the application process was opened in May this year, about 44,000 applications were received, and of that over 21,000 of them have been verified. Further, 200 ICT hubs have been set up, and of these, 35 of them have been activated in various parts of the country.
The president said that government will work with GT&T to ensure that there is internet connectivity for all the laptops, even if it will not be broadband at the beginning.
“But as we bring in more cables and make more investment, those speeds will increase,” he said. He spoke also of government services being accessible through the use of the computers.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 November 2011 03:26 )