- Published: 26 November 2008
Following the presentation of the 2009 Speech from the Throne by Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Prime Minister Spencer said that the programme we have pioneered since 2004 is tantamount to a revolution. “We have been able to accomplish great things that have never been done or tested in the region before,” he said.
The country’s leader said that the success his government has achieved in this field is due largely to the drive of Communications Minister Dr. the Hon. Edmond Mansoor and the excellent team of experts and technicians that he has surrounded himself with.
In the 2009 Throne Speech, Governor General Dame Louise outlined that Antigua and Barbuda has already made extraordinary strides in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector. She said that under the Government’s watch, mobile phone penetration rates are now in excess of 125%, while the Internet connectivity rates have climbed to in excess of 50%.
“My Government’s commitment to a “people first” philosophy has resulted in the careful and methodical building of an information-enabled, globally-connected, knowledge-based society. Key areas of Government’s operations are now fully electronic, including the Immigration Management Control System,” Dame Louise pointed out.
Dame Louise also announced that in the New Year all of central Government’s ICT and ICT related staff and services will be converged into a new and modern ICT Headquarters which will serve as the home for a cutting edge Tier three (3) data center that will significantly propel the state’s e-government, e-education and e-business thrust to the next competitive level.
Under the Connect Antigua and Barbuda Initiative, ten (10) public primary schools and eight (8) empowerment centers have already been equipped as modern Community Computer Access Centers (CACs). Twelve (12) additional public primary schools with state of the art computer labs will be equipped in 2009 while computer labs in all public secondary schools will be refurbished and modernized.
The ICT programme also includes five (5) modern coaster buses outfitted as mobile IT classrooms, serving public and private primary schools, non-Governmental organizations and faith-based organizations. Information Technology classes in each mobile IT classroom and in each Community Computer Access Center are conducted by trained Community Technology Officers.
Under the Ministry’s Connect Antigua and Barbuda Initiative, a Multilingual Studies Programme at the Community Computer Access Centers provides instructions in Spanish, French, German and Italian. Using the latest in software technology, Government is expected to expand the programme in 2009 to provide training to hotel workers, policemen and women, teachers, taxi drivers, airport staff and staff at other ports of entry.
Under the Connect Antigua and Barbuda Initiative, the Adele School, the School for the Visually Challenged and the Rehabilitation Center have benefited from this programme. In 2009, government says it will expand this programme to include the School for the Hearing Impaired and the Industrial School for the Blind.
The Government has already equipped visually challenged students with computers and high speed Internet at their homes and in the New Year says that all certified visually challenged citizen will be equipped with life-enhancing technology, including the provision of appropriate software and appropriate training.
Minister of Communications Dr. Edmond Mansoor says that although there are numerous challenges to completing some of the initiatives, his team is committed to ensuring that the vision of the Baldwin Spencer Administration to realize a technology driven environment is realized. He noted that his department has already commenced plans that would result in the deployment of a personal computer and broadband Internet in every home in Antigua and Barbuda by the year 2012.
Under the Technology for Institutes of Higher Learning model, the Antigua State College and the National Technical Training Center have already been developed as Internet “hot spo ts”. Students and teachers are already benefiting from a laptop rental programme at these institutions, where high speed Internet access is available at no cost to the students and teachers.
In 2009, my Government will make high speed laptops available on loan to every student and to every teacher at, the Antigua State College, the National Technical Training Center, the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute, and the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education.
The Government throughout the year received numerous regional and international awards and commendations for its Information Technology Programme.
Quelle/Source: SKNVibes, 25.11.2008