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  • Jamaicans are being urged to protect community access points (CAPs) islandwide and create programmes that will enable them to be sustainable.
  • The call came from Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, during the official opening of the Greater Brown’s Town Computer Skills Training Lab, located at 16 Shoe Lane in East Kingston, today (November 9).
  • The CAPs are funded from a cess collected by the USF on international calls terminating in Jamaica, at a rate of US three cents per minute to landlines, and US two cents for cellular phones.

Jamaicans are being urged to protect community access points (CAPs) islandwide and create programmes that will enable them to be sustainable.

The call came from Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, during the official opening of the Greater Brown’s Town Computer Skills Training Lab, located at 16 Shoe Lane in East Kingston, today (November 9).

“The community is really embracing this facility and I am sure you are going to use it to the fullest. In the past, we have found that after these ceremonies and we hand over the facility, it runs good for about three or four months but there is no sustainability,” he said.

The Minister encouraged the Community Development Committees (CDCs) in the respective areas to develop sustainable programmes that will offset some of the expenses of the facilities.

“When we put in place programmes in communities, people believe that the politician or councillor or member of parliament should pay all the bills. We are empowering our people… so when you get this facility you must not only take care of the equipment, but you must run it like a business,” he said.

Citing an example, Dr. Wheatley said although Internet services are provided free of charge for two years, programmes need to be implemented that will enable them to pay after the expiration period.

He added that monitoring of the facility is going to be important for sustainability and urged community members to use it to their fullest potential.

In the meantime, he said the Ministry is rolling out an energy conservative programme that seeks to assist communities and community organisations by putting in solar facilities, such as at community access points.

The $4.6-million Greater Brown’s Town Computer Skill Training Lab was established in partnership with the United African Community Group, the Universal Service Fund (USF), the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), and the Greater Brown’s Town Benevolent Community Development Council.

It has been outfitted with 20 state-of-the-art computers, printers and air-conditioning units.

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

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