Ministry of Education, Guyana

Friday, 11 October 2019 08:56

66 Indigenous communities accessing internet

The Ministry of Telecommunications has made significant strides towards connectivity in Guyana’s hinterland region with 66 indigenous and hinterland communities already connected and 31 more to be connected by the end of 2019.

Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes, told a gathering of leaders in Georgetown for the hosting of the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) Conference on Thursday that internet connectivity is vital to the hinterland Region.

Providing additional figures, she informed that a total 170 secondary and 170 primary schools, 30 tertiary institutions and 120 government ministries and agencies have all been connected with free internet. “Communities that had internet had to buy it off a private company and you had the headache of finding every month — I heard there were times when it cost as much as — $50,000 to bring internet to your communities,” the Minister said.

“I am glad and proud that through the vision of President David Granger, you are getting internet free.” Hughes stated that while the entirety of Guyana is not yet connected, it is the ministry’s vision to see all of Guyana experience connectivity.

In explaining to the hinterland leaders what this has already done for some communities and has the potential to do for more, she said that access to the internet saves individuals the hassle of travelling to Georgetown and puts an unlimited amount of information at their fingertips.
She noted that technology can also connect citizens in the hinterland to medical assistance by helping set appointments with doctors and facilitating one-on-one advice-sharing with medical practitioners on the coastland.

Access to the internet can also provide residents in the hinterland with information from the government and its agencies such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA); can provide access to e-textbooks and an avenue for advertising businesses online.

During her presentation, the minister also highlighted the benefits of the Farmer’s Market App and the opportunities for Persons With Disability (PWD) through technology. “We are using technology to bring Guyana into a whole new world and to transform our country,” she said.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done but I want to say that, God-willing, there is even more that I hope to be able to do.” Minister Hughes assured the leaders need not worry about not being knowledgeable with the internet as the ministry is committed to conducting training in villages across Guyana.

Every community to be connected

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi, told the gathering that every hinterland community will eventually receive free connection to the internet.

This will be set up through schools, village offices, health centres, and police outposts. Levi explained that the reason some communities were connected before others was because of the ease of transportation to get to some villages as opposed to others and the reality that some communities are clustered together and can all be addressed at the same time. For 2020, he noted the NDMA plan to upgrade existing communities and install over 100 new communities bringing the total to 200 with access to free internet.

The NDMA, through the government, will also work to ensure that all communities in 2020 are provided with up to 12 laptop computers, printers and scanners.

Added to this, a new phone system is coming in 2020 whereby each government building in the hinterland will have a telephone system which enables citizens to call government offices anywhere in Guyana for free. At the end of the presentation, Minister Hughes presented all the Toshaos with electronic tablets while community development officers attending the conference will also receive the same to better serve their communities.

She encouraged the leaders not to use the tablets only to idly surf the internet, but to meet their responsibility of improving access to information through technologies in their villages.


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