Taiwan Continues To Enhance Local Capacity.
TWO communities will soon benefit from easier access to information and communications technology (ICT), thanks to the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Taiwanese Ambassador to Saint Lucia, James Chang, presented a cheque for US$438,198 (EC$1, 177, 165) to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony last Thursday for the second stage of the Community Access Centre Programme.
The two centres, currently under construction in Vieux Fort and Micoud, will provide local communities with access to Internet and computer-based services and resources and also support educational and training functions.
Taiwan and Saint Lucia have jointly accomplished several projects of information technology. In March last year, the two governments signed the Information and Communication Technology Cooperation Agreement. The Electronic Document and Records Maintenance Systems Project was signed three months later. The Digitization Centre was established in January last year and 311 Contact Centre last September.
“I’m glad to learn that the centres were designed by the government and the local labour force will be needed for the construction,” Ambassador Chang said during the cheque presentation held in the Cabinet Room. “This will play a positive role in sustaining community economy. It is my firm belief that through our joint efforts, we can make more meaningful achievements that will benefit people and strengthen the ties between the ties between our two countries.”
Prime Minister Anthony said the IT access centres will enhance the communities of Micoud village and the town of Vieux Fort by providing centrally-located facilities for the access of information and communications technology (ICT).
Dr. Anthony added that while computers are becoming the norm in many homes, there are many people who require such access centres where they can access the Internet and other IT resources. He said the need is always there for facilities where IT-based training can occur, which the new facilities seek to provide.
“The two buildings are nearing completion and will within a few months be available to the public for use,” Dr. Anthony said. “These facilities are being completed at a total cost of over EC$3.1 million. They will become new icons of cooperation and assistance of your government, the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
Dr. Anthony thanked the Taiwanese for their continued support in enhancing the local ICT capacity, which includes partnering with the Ministry of Public Service, Information and Broadcasting on a number of similar and related projects.
“For example, you will continue to provide assistance with the National ICT Centre located next to the Central Library in Castries and you have provided a grant of nearly EC$7 million to support the Multi-Channel Data Centre Project of the government which aims at improving public services and public administration through suitable technology,” the Prime Minister noted.
He said that given Taiwan’s world-recognized legacy in the field of ICT and electronics development, the assistance being given to Saint Lucia in expanding access to technology not only augurs well for bilateral relations but for the development of the local education sector.
“These investments, I might add, go hand in hand with government’s other efforts in the education sector. More schools than ever before are equipped with IT labs. Now every secondary school teacher and every child in third, fourth and fifth forms have a laptop which was provided to them by the government of Saint Lucia through the kind assistance of other friendly governments,” Dr. Anthony explained.
The memorandum of understanding for another programme, the GiNet programme, was signed by Ambassador Chang and Minister for Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, Dr. James Fletcher. The GiNet programme is expected to provide 70 Wi-Fi spots island-wide and will offer government, the citizenry and visitors free or low-cost managed access to the Internet and to information within public spaces.