PRESS RELEASE: Monday, July 09, 2018- Education Minister and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud North Honorable Dr. Gale Rigobert has welcomed the launch of the Government of Saint Lucia Island-Wide Network (GINet) Project in her constituency, and appealed to students to use the free internet services for research and educational advancement. The launch of the GINet Project in Micoud took place on Wednesday July 04, 2018, and forms part of the government’s quest to bridge the urban/rural digital divide, and address the issue of low internet penetration. The project, in the main involves the installation of seventy access points in public spaces around the island, and will provide residents and tourists with free internet access. As far as Micoud is concerned, eight access points have been installed throughout the vicinity of the playing field and the primary and infant schools.
According to Dr. Rigobert, “The expectation is therefore, that citizens who were previously barred or disconnected, or for whatever reason- be it a lack of competence or the inability to pay for such service, will now have this privilege to congregate in this vicinity to become connected, not only for recreational purposes, but for you to be able to explore the world from your finger tips, aquatint yourself with new knowledge, become aware of new opportunities for yourself and for your community.”
The USD 4 million GINet Project is a partnership between the Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of the Republic of China(Taiwan) which has injected the larger share of USD 3.28 Million into the project, in addition to the provision of technical expertise. Dr. Rigobert said the Government of Saint Lucia is very grateful for this contribution towards the development of ICT on the island. “It means a lot to us, she added, that thanks to your generosity and benevolence persons that might have found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide have now found themselves on the right side of that divide.”
It is the intention of the Government of the Republic of China(Taiwan), to extend the GINet Project to other constituencies and according to His Excellency Ambassador Douglas Shen, the aim is to make Saint Lucia the icon for information and Communication Technology in the Eastern Caribbean.
“I think Taiwan has the advantage of high tech and this is what we need in Saint Lucia. So I would like to guarantee you as long as I am here I will try to promote the high tech in Saint Lucia and this is what we need in Saint Lucia. After the GINet we are going to have a new project in Saint Lucia which will be committed to building a smart island, Ambassador Shen added.
The Department of Public Service which is the implementing agency for the GINet Project is elated that communities can now experience the tremendous benefits of being connected. “We are enthusiastic about the project, which should see Saint Lucia’s world internet ranking improving and look forward to experiencing the resulting positive national impact associated with nurturing a more connected and better equipped people. “said the Department’s Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Sheila Imbert.
The communities of Canaries, Dennery, Micoud, Vieux-Fort and Central Castries have been identified as the beneficiaries of phase one of the GINet Project. The next GINet WiFi launch is earmarked for Castries in the coming weeks.