OLPF programme in more trouble
The One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) programme has been placed in more hot water when no laptops were available for residents of Wakenaam who registered to benefit from the programme; while, numerous families have been allotted way more than what is suggested in the project’s name.
OLPF made its first distribution visit to the Essequibo Island on Tuesday and distribution continued the following day. However, this newspaper understands that standard procedures were apparently breached.
The system outlined by the government is that each intended recipient should be registered beforehand.
However, reports reaching this newspaper are that anyone who presented an identification card was granted a laptop.
The plan of some residents went well and many who didn’t register received laptops. It was only after it was realized that the laptops taken to the island were mostly distributed and persons were still going to receive, that distributors suspected that something was amiss.
After confirming that something was “really wrong” a report was made to the police. Ranks who carried out random searches, recovered five laptops from one household of mother, father and children.
But this newspaper understands that instant of recovery is only one of the many seen firsthand.
A resident who preferred anonymity asserted, “I really thought it was supposed to be one laptop per family but these people give out five and six laptops per family while some get none.”
The Wakenaam resident said that “even people who are well off collect laptops and the real people who cannot afford it leff without. It was helter skelter.”
This newspaper understands that a quantity of laptops have been recovered but “nuff people get away with it.”
The OLPF programme is the brainchild of previous President Bharrat Jagdeo. It was greeted with lots of controversy and wasted no time in proving critics right.
Jagdeo had noted in his speech at the launching of the OLPF programme that the computers will have “tough security features,” and can be shut off completely via the Internet.
He also noted that strict imprisonment penalties are being considered for anyone caught stealing any of the laptops. He also emphasized that there will also be penalties for anyone found selling the laptops.
Allegations of theft and delayed payments for staffers were also made.
Recently, six staffers were sent home to facilitate a probe by police into the theft of around 150 laptops. The missing laptops were believed to have been stolen from the project’s warehouse in Forshaw Street, Queenstown over a three-month period.
Under the project, the government plans to distribute 90,000 to poor families over a three-year period.