JIS News

A cyber club, equipped with 10 new computers and associated technologies, was opened in the Flankers community of St. James on Tuesday (Feb.15).The facility, located at the Flankers Peace and Justice Centre on Morning View Drive, is sponsored by Cable and Wireless Jamaica Foundation (CWJF), Microsoft Jamaica Limited and the Dispute Resolution Foundation.
CWJF procured and installed the computers, while Microsoft provided the software applications, which will be made available to the club members.
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell and Member of Parliament for North West St. James, Horace Chang, officially opened the facility.
In his remarks, Minister Paulwell said that the opening of the cyber club fits into government’s programme of creating a knowledge-based society, by providing Jamaicans with access to the latest in technology at competitive prices.
“We are seeing this vision being implemented over the last couple of years, where Jamaicans are more and more utilizing information communication technology(ICT) to ensure more jobs and more wealth creation.
We are utilizing ICT in terms of education and training, in our health care delivery services, and we are doing so in enhancing the efficiencies in our economy, whether it is in manufacturing, tourism or agriculture. We are seizing this vision and to realize it by the effective implementation of this policy . We have come a far way in a short time frame,” Minister Paulwell pointed out.
He observed that since the liberalization process, over $30 billion worth of investments have been made in information technology; 2.2 million Jamaicans now have access to phones, both wire and wireless; and the country had one of the highest cellular phone penetration rates, surpassing even the United States.
Turning to training, the Minister mentioned that through the HEART Trust/NTA and the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT), “we are now expanding beyond the software development programme into training . I believe that we are putting in place the appropriate training so that our people can have full and complete access”.
He urged the residents of Flankers to make use of the facility and expressed the hope that in time, they would be able to use the technology to do certain transactions with government, such as paying income taxes and general consumption tax, process drivers’ licences, among other tasks that they would normally have to travel to Kingston to get done. “What you have here is priceless,” he stated.
Marilyn Nash, administrator of the Flankers Peace and Justice Centre, who will manage the cyber club, said that the opening of the facility would provide citizens, especially the young men, with greater access to information technology training.
“On a daily basis, we have an average about 80 persons, who come to the centre for the various programmes that we offer and I am sure that with the computers, we will have a new target group, which is the young men and we are trying to see how best we can get them involved in positive development for themselves as well as for the community. We are really looking forward to the new persons that this cyber club will attract and bring in,” Mrs. Nash told JIS News.

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