PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday launched information and communications programme Star.tt, aimed at providing rural communities with lifestyle-changing technology, available at their community centres.
Persad-Bissessar, who launched the programme in the Penal Community Centre at Clarke Road, thanked all who were responsible for the programme, and for refurbishing the community centre.
“This centre has become an access centre. This is one of 44 to be opened for our children to access the Internet,” she said.
Minister of Science and Technology Rupert Griffith said the 44 locations were selected based on scientific assessment undertaken by the ministry utilising available data and intelligence from diverse sources.
“Connecting Trinidad and Tobago and building the new economy in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the systems they can create are fundamental to the development of every modern progressive society,” said Griffith.
“We will expand the country’s Internet connection capability so that every citizen will be able to have access and conduct business for a wide range of governmental services.”
He said the centre will provide opportunities for access to information by overcoming the barriers of distance and location, and had the potential to foster social cohesion and interaction, especially to under served groups such as the physically challenged, the elderly and at risk youth.
“We are the doors to opportunities to future entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. Star is indeed a major step in the journey that would establish Trinidad and Tobago as the leader in ICT in the Caribbean,” said Griffith.
He said that the Penal Star.tt access centre is the first of six centres that will be opened this year.
Others to be launched will be in the areas of Cumana, Mayaro, Tobago, Tabaquite/Talparo and Point Fortin/Cedros.
The centres comprise a cyber cafe, state-of-the-art training and conference facilities, a Wifi launch for mobile users, and e-government services.
While the launch was taking place yesterday, parents and pupils of the Erin Road Presbyterian School assembled at the gates of the community centre, holding placards to protest unsanitary conditions at the school. The protestors said there was a rat infestation and a sewer problem on the school’s compound for almost five weeks and the situation needed to be addressed.