Infirmaries and Golden Age Homes across the island will benefit from a donation of more than 40 smartphones from telecommunications provider, Digicel, to enable residents to make contact with loved ones during the Christmas season.
Some of the phones were handed over today (December 16), and will be used to enhance the ‘Virtually Connected While Staying Socially Distant Initiative’, being implemented in Infirmaries and Golden Age Homes by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, at the Ministry’s offices on Hagley Park Road, in Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said that the programme will commence this week and run until the end of January.
He pointed out that the use of cellphones will allow residents who would normally receive visitors to interact with their relatives and friends, since they have been unable to do so since March when a ban was placed on visits as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Minister noted that once the phones have been set up, they will be sent to the various facilities.
“We will allow the homes to keep the phones and they will be able to use them on a regular basis when the residents desire, because it is not our intention right now to remove the restriction on visits,” the Minister said.
Mr. McKenzie thanked Digicel for its donation, noting that the company represents what corporate Jamaica ought to be.
For his part, Public Relations and Communications Manager for Digicel, Elon Parkinson, said that the value of the donation “totals over $500,000”.
“This is a pretty significant donation, not only in terms of the monetary value but when you consider how important connectivity is, especially during this time when so many of the persons who are housed in infirmaries still need to reach out to their family members,” he said.