The Ministry of Agriculture, with support from President Bharrat Jagdeo, launched a Computer Skills Training Programme and Computer Centre at the Albion Sports Complex yesterday.
The initiative is expected to see on-site training of sugar workers and their immediate families in the quest by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to empower its employees while making advances through them in the technological and digital age.
Region Six Chairman, Zulfikar Mustapha, made a connection to the programme that was launched with the One Laptop per Household initiative which will commence shortly.
According to GuySuCo’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Raj Singh, the programme will see four segments, each lasting 20 weeks. They courses are Introduction to Computers, Microsoft Word, Access, and PowerPoint. At the end of training, participants will be awarded certificates of accreditation.
President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Seepaul Narine, praised the venture. He noted the huge leap the world has made in the advance of computers and technology.
“Computers have served to revolutionize the way we communicate with each other,” he said. He urged the membership of his union to “grasp the opportunity” and utilize, care and protect the centre and equipment therein.
“All Guyanese deserve to enter the world of gigabytes and World web”, Narine said. He asked for an evaluation at the end of the programme which would judge the worth of the programme to be carried out at the end of the programme.
PPP General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, said that the future is being taken over by newer forms of technology. “Information technology is at the heart of globalization that is taking place,” he said.
“Sugar has been at the heart of our country. It has been responsible for our ancestors to come into this land from different parts of the world.
It is the first industry that was established. And it became possible because of the peculiarity of sugar cane. Sugar workers and their children should have the full opportunity to learn and make the maximum use of this possibility.”
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, alluded to the development of countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
He said that the government is putting down ICT centres at all of the sugar estates in the country. “We want to ensure that every sugar worker and his children have access to training.”
He said that the facility costs millions of dollars and that the government believes that every single dollar spent on the welfare of the people is a dollar well spent. “We intend to put billions of dollars [in the industry] this year.”
He then lashed out at the critics in the newspapers and other media for peddling misinformation. “I know what will happen.
The critics and those who are idle will tomorrow write in the newspapers and say ‘Here you go again; the PPP Government putting more money in sugar workers. Not only are they putting billions of dollars in the sugar industry, here it is they are taking taxpayers’ monies and going to train computers.
“Well, I say to them, that we will not in any way shy away from investing in our sugar workers, as we have not shied away from investing in our bauxite, timber, public service, army or elsewhere.
“We will ensure without any apology and without any condition that our commitment to the sugar workers’ welfare and to the sugar industry, is unwavering. And we say so but not only say so but we are doing things as we are doing here today”, Persaud said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Minister and his team also commissioned a $27M sluice at Alness on the Corentyne. (Leon Suseran)
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