The village of Orealla is now online following the commissioning of six internet hotspots across the community by Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes. These hubs will allow residents to have free, uninterrupted access to the internet while being in a public space.
For the first time in history, via the Telemedicine initiative, doctors and healthcare providers at the Orealla Heath Centre are now able to have direct video communication with Central Hospitals such as the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital and various other hinterland health centres.
According to Dr. Lerone Henry, who is stationed at the centre, it greatly improves the facility’s ability to conduct diagnoses and facilitates direct contact with specialists. He no longer needs to take the two-hour journey up the river to the coast, as he is now able to speak directly with the specialists in real time while carrying out prescribed diagnoses and relaying symptoms and reactions.
In terms of public security, the Orealla Police Station is now online as well, allowing for the officers stationed there to have a direct connection with Central Police Stations in the Capital and across the different regions via their dedicated internet pathways.
Also commissioned during Minister Hughes’s visit was an internet hub dedicated to education, connecting students and teachers to the world wide web. The hub features 10 laptops all connected to the internet and loaded with all the textbooks available from the Ministry of Education, removing the difficulties of having to find monies to purchase these books.
Minister Hughes wrapped up the visit by officially opening a Community Benab, which will be a central location for the villagers to come and go online with their various devices while being protected from external forces.
In brief remarks on the commissioning, Toshao of Orealla, Carl Peneux said the residents of the community are appreciative of the work done by the ministry and acknowledged that it is, in fact, a history-making occasion, for the village which had remained cut off from the online world throughout the previous years.
He also indicated that this initiative will go a far way in the village council’s plans to increase the village’s tourism potential as visitors and tourists will feel more comfortable knowing that despite being this far out from the mainland, they would still be connected.
In a presentation of appreciation to the minister, residents related that they are already seeing the benefits of being online, as they were able to sell two hammocks made right in this very village, for $140,000.
In closing, Minister Hughes donated five new tablets to five critical committees and groups in the village, the Toshao, the Orealla Women’s Group, the Orealla Farmer’s Group, a representative of the Orealla Sports Group and lastly the Orealla Fisheries Group.
Orealla is just the latest in several remote villages brought online via the initiative by the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to ensure that Guyanese across the nation are all connected.
“We realise that while we are vast and located across the country, we are unable to talk to one another, so we realised the importance of ensuring that each and every village regardless of how remote, comes online, thus allowing for us all to be able to communicate with each other,” the Public Telecommunications Minister said.
Images: Anil Seelall.