JIS News

Story Highlights

  • It was a celebratory atmosphere for residents of Greater Brown’s Town, in Eastern Kingston, as a $4.6 million Community Access Point (CAP) was opened in the community on November 11.
  • The facility, which is located at 16 Shoe Lane, has been outfitted with 20 state-of-the-art computers, printers and air-conditioning units. It is expected to benefit students as well as other members of the wider community who will be able to access the Internet through the free Wi-Fi service that will be provided, and documentation services.
  • Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, said the establishment of a CAP in the area represents a real investment in the community and its residents. “It marks a significant milestone for technological development and increased access to ICTs for Jamaicans and particularly the residents of this community,” he said.

It was a celebratory atmosphere for residents of Greater Brown’s Town, in Eastern Kingston, as a $4.6 million Community Access Point (CAP) was opened in the community on November 9.

The facility, which is located at 16 Shoe Lane, has been outfitted with 20 state-of-the-art computers, printers and air-conditioning units.

It is expected to benefit students as well as other members of the wider community who will be able to access the Internet through the free Wi-Fi service that will be provided, and documentation services. The free Wi-Fi will be provided for a period of two years by the Government.

The facility 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.

The United African Community Group, which has been in existence since 2001, has collaborated with the Council  on numerous projects within the community.

In an interview with JIS News, member of the United African Community Group Tianna Powell, expressed delight for the opening of the CAP,  adding that the new facility will improve the services provided to residents.

The Information and Communication Technology major said persons will not  have to go to the centre at South Camp Road anymore to complete outstanding projects or to surf the Internet.

She added that older persons who wish to familiarize themselves with the technology will  be able to do so at the new centre.

 

“I’m all about innovation and improvement of people. I usually help in the old computer centre. I remember when it was very dismal…and I usually help all the students with their homework,” the 22 year-old student told JIS News.

Pastor, Triumph Open Bible Church, Beverly Scott, who is also part of the management team at the United African Community Group said discussions are being undertaken with other agencies, such as the HEART Trust/NTA, to provide other services to the community members.

“We are not stopping just at computers but we want it to become a multipurpose centre, because we want the lives of our people in our community to change,” she told JIS News.

Case Management Officer for the area, Latoya Blackwood, said the building represents unity within the area as different segments of the community will be able to benefit from the services being offered. “I see the building as an opportunity for youngsters, even for the elderly,” she told JIS News.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, said  the establishment of a CAP in the area represents a real investment in the community and its residents.

“It marks a significant milestone for technological development and increased access to ICTs for Jamaicans and particularly the residents of this community,” he said.

Dr. Wheatley implored the residents to use the facility to empower themselves and not just for social media activities, adding that it will cater to a wide cross section of individuals.

“Our administration is moving to make Jamaica the Caribbean’s leading producer of technology, not just mere consumers of technology. We believe that Jamaicans have the potential to be innovators,” he said.

 

Providing statistics, he said Jamaica’s internet penetration for this year stands at 43 per cent, which represents a 2.5 per cent change when compared to the period last year. “We recognise that less than 50 per cent internet penetration for 2016 is unacceptable,” he said.

Dr. Wheatley said the Government is committed to providing internet access for all Jamaicans, adding that this will pave the way for budding scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators locally.

“The establishment of the CAP  will increase the sustainability of this community and further enhance human capital by assisting school leavers, school drop-outs, as well as residents seeking internet and documentation services in order to gain skills and employment,” he said.

Pointing out the importance of skills training, he said this will enable community members to become more independent and marketable. He lauded the leadership for their foresight in exploring partnerships with the HEART Trust/NTA, so that training opportunities can be provided at the centre.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for the area, Phillip Paulwell, said the initiative will benefit community members tremendously and urged them to protect the facilities while using it to uplift themselves.

Community Access Points are funded from a cess collected by the Universal Service Fund (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 cellular phones.

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