RESIDENTS of Parika, Region Three are now the recipients of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Hub, commissioned by the Ministry of Telecommunications, E-Governance department on Wednesday, at the Parika Community Playground.
The hub, outfitted with 20 computers, will afford residents of the community to have free access to computers and to the internet. It is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Telecommunications and residents who were instrumental in ensuring the hub became a reality. Opening hours of the Hub are from Monday to Friday from 15:30hrs to 20:30hrs. On weekends and holidays, it will be opened from 13:00hrs to 18:00hrs. The Department of Public Information (DPI) was at the opening ceremony and spoke to students, teachers and residents of Parika who thrilled by the initiative.
All of the students indicated that they intend to use the ICT hub to assist them with their homework, research and assignments. Aalayah Leighton of Parika Salem Secondary said, “It is very helpful. I will use it for doing most of my homework and my SBAs and so on.” Renetta Fernandes also plans on taking advantage of the hub to complete her homework and research. Ten-year-old Alvena Singh, of Parika Salem Primary said, “I am so excited to use the computers; it will help me a lot with my homework and my assignments.” A parent and community resident, Ms Alexis Fernandes said that the establishment of the ICT hub is a great initiative by the government. The mother-of-three noted, “Before you had to use the private Internets; and one picture sometimes cost $40. And if you have to get like four or five pictures, and with three kids, it would be costly… So I see it as a great thing for the community.”
Parika Salem Primary School teacher, Ms Naomie Phillips said she believes that the ICT Hub will be of great benefit to children of all ages. “Many times they do not have the money to go out and get research done; and it’s not far from the school, so they can walk over in the afternoon and get their work done,” she said. Director of Community Development and Social Management, Mr Phillip Walcott thanked the community for their support in making the ICT Hub a reality. He remarked that the establishment of the ICT Hub is not the end, but a means to an end. “While we are here, dealing with the part of providing the access through community ICT Hub, E-government agencies all across the country are also working on making the government services accessible,” Mr Walcott said, adding: “And so, over time, you will no longer have to travel to make a passport application. Within each hub, you will be able to access relevant software that will allow you to apply for your passport online.”
The ICT Hubs are an initiative of President David Granger to bridge the digital divide in the country. Within the next five years, Walcott said, there will be an ICT Hub in almost every community countrywide. On Wednesday afternoon, a similar facility was formally opened at the Agricola Community Centre in Greater Georgetown.