JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, on Friday (November 6), formally opened Jamaica’s 235th Community Access Point (CAP) at the Mandeville Craft Institute (MCI) vocational training centre in Manchester.
  • The 15-seat facility, established by the Universal Service Fund (USF) at a cost of just under $4 million, has been outfitted with 14 state-of-the-art computers, two printers, a server, and air-conditioning units.
  • The CAPs are funded from a cess collected by the USF on international calls terminating in Jamaica by the USF, at a rate of 3 US cents per minute to landlines, and 2 US cents for to cellular phones.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, on Friday (November 6), formally opened Jamaica’s 235th Community Access Point (CAP) at the Mandeville Craft Institute (MCI) vocational training centre in Manchester.

The 15-seat facility, established by the Universal Service Fund (USF) at a cost of just under $4 million, has been outfitted with 14 state-of-the-art computers, two printers, a server, and air-conditioning units.

It will benefit students enrolled in the HEART Trust/NTA’s training programmes at the MCI. Members of the wider community will also be able to access the Internet through the free Wi-Fi service provided.

Mr. Paulwell, in welcoming the opening of the centre, noted that there is island-wide demand for an additional 600 such facilities.

“We, therefore, are pleased to have this facility to enhance the training that you are getting, and also to ensure that persons from the wider community can come in and have access…to technology that…is transforming our lives,” he stated.

Mr. Paulwell also lauded the USF’s administration, led by Chief Executive Officer, Hugh Cross, on the “tremendous job” in providing broadband Internet access and other technology solutions under several programmes.

These include the Tablets in Schools initiative, as well as initiatives involving e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited.

“Information is a tremendous asset…and…we want to ensure that every single Jamaican, regardless of where you live or how much you earn, that you…have access to (the) world of information,” he added.

National Security Minister and Member of Parliament for Central Manchester,  Hon. Peter Bunting, in also welcoming the computer lab’s opening, told the students that “I expect that it will facilitate, not just your completion of (the vocational) programmes that you are participating (in) now, but (position) you to go on to bigger and better things.”

In his remarks, Mr. Cross pointed out that the ultimate objective of the Government’s technology expansion programme “is that every home and every street corner should have Internet access.”

“We know it will take a while to get there, so what we are doing in the interim is providing these community facilities (CAPs). So if you don’t have it (broadband access) at home, it is just around the corner… (because) we want our people to use Internet facilities,” he added.

MCI student, Adeneke Smith, in expressing gratitude, described the lab’s opening as a “very special occasion,” which will ensure that “in this fast developing world of technology, those who will access this fine institution will not be left behind.”

Other speakers included: Mandeville Mayor and Manchester Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Brenda Ramsay; and Mandeville Craft Institute Chairman, Orville Tomlin.

The CAPs are funded from a cess collected by the USF on international calls terminating in Jamaica by the USF, at a rate of 3 US cents per minute to landlines, and 2 US cents for to cellular phones.

This regime has generated approximately $13 billion, since being implemented in June 2005, when the USF was established.