‘ICT advancement could be greater if PPP didn’t waste $2B’ – Min. Hughes
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes set the record straight on the strides made in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, noting that the country would have been at a better stage had the former administration not wasted approximately $2B in a project that never materialized.
“We could have been further along the way if we hadn’t thrown $2B down the drain,” Minister Hughes stated, referring to the fibre optic project which was being undertaken by the former People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government.
Minister Hughes, during her contribution to the 2018 budget debates on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, contended that the progress in the telecommunication sector has been giving Guyanese a “taste of the good life” with close to 200,000 persons already benefiting from internet connectivity across the country.
Minister Hughes highlighted that her agency has been pivotal in establishing numerous ICT hubs across the country, including in the hinterland as she shutdown “fake news” peddled by opposition members that the government has neglected the indigenous peoples.
The Minister pointed out that airports, hospitals, ministries, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), among others have benefitted from free internet connectivity.
As a result hinterland regions now having access to the internet, Hughes explained that those entrepreneurs can now sell their products online – debunking arguments once again by opposition members.
She referred to the establishment of radio stations in the hinterland regions, as she debunked statements by former Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai who accused the coalition of failing to deliver on its promise to bridge the divide between the hinterland and the coastland.
Minister Hughes also noted that the APNU+AFC government has been investing in youths, having connected 94 schools to the internet. For schools still unconnected, the Minister boasted that “regardless of where you are in Guyana, there is an ICT hub close to where you live where you can go and get free internet access, training and support.”
“They lambaste and complain that little is being done for young people … but it has created environment upon which young Guyanese have been able to shine,” she noted, alluding to the various Hackathons and Codesprint competitions where young persons were provided with a platform and support to develop apps.