New IT centre `tangible demonstration’ of Government’s commitment to UG
– President Jagdeo
February 1, 2004
President Bharrat Jagdeo; US Ambassador, Mr. Roland Bullen and Chief Executive Officer of GT&T, Ms. Sonita Jagan ‘trying-out’ one of the internet-ready computers in the IT facility.
`I am pleased to be here to associate myself and my Government with the opening of this wonderful facility. It is a dream come through for some students and maybe some people on the campus and it may be that it’s a promise kept, but for me it represents something a little different because this facility and much more that will take place, will serve to erode some suspicions that may be harboured in some quarters.’ President Bharrat Jagdeo
`…we have every hope and intention that we can return at graduation to recruit the best and brightest among them so that they can join GT&T in our quest to make telecommunications in Guyana second to none.’ GT&T CEO, Ms Sonita Jagan
A MULTI-million Technology Centre was formally handed over Friday to the University of Guyana (UG) Turkeyen Campus amidst calls for the institution’s development in keeping with the technological era. As part of efforts to ensure such development, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced at the function a $600M injection for, among other things, modernised science laboratories.
The University also got an undertaking from the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Limited (GT&T) for the provision of technical facilities as well as opportunities for recruitment for the best and brightest among UG graduates.
The IT Centre, which is located at the University’s north-western end and was constructed at a cost of more than $100M, is being operated in collaboration with the University and GT&T. GT&T and Nortel Networks installed an Internet facility in the upper floor of the two-storey building.
The telecommunication firm’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms. Sonita Jagan, in her address at the opening ceremony noted that GT&T’s contribution to the IT Centre includes the provision of 57 Dell Pentium-4 computers, a Dell Server, and a high speed laser printer and scanner to the tune of some $10M.
“More than all of that is the provision of the high speed internet access which translates to a monthly cost of $1.2M which GT&T will continue to provide.
A section of the gathering singing the National Anthem during Friday nights ceremony to open the spanking new Information Technology Centre at UG.
A section of the gathering singing the National Anthem during Friday night’s ceremony to open the spanking new Information Technology Centre at UG.
“We see this as the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship between GT&T and the University, and I look forward to discussing other ways in which we can collaborate with the University. In fact, we are working with UG to provide technical facilities to host the aspect of the GY domain which is normally hosted by universities across the world, and we would like to see the university of Guyana take charge of that,” she told the gathering.
Ms Jagan added that GT&T intends to keep a close watch on the students of the University of Guyana “because we have every hope and intention that we can return at graduation to recruit the best and brightest among them so that they can join GT&T in our quest to make telecommunications in Guyana second to none.”
The CEO recalled a public lecture she delivered recently as part of UG’s 40th anniversary celebrations, and in which she noted that “it is self evident that while a modern telecommunication network is necessary for participation and integration into the global economy, it is far from sufficient.”
“Without access to modern telecommunications network that provides reliable and reasonably priced services, both a nation and its people are destined for marginalisation. That GT&T recognises this reality is demonstrated by the investments it has made, the investment priorities we are following and the lengths that we have gone to expand that telecommunications network to increase access to all Guyanese,” she stated.
She said, too, that in this technologically advanced global village, information is indispensable for economic and social activities and access to modern telecommunications networks has become a crucial link in the chain of the development process.
“Failure to modernise the telecommunication network and failure to universalise access to these networks will consign a country to backwardness and social and economic deterioration and consign its people to the limited economic opportunities, unemployment and poverty,” she asserted.
“Today, access to modern telecommunications network means access to a vast array of information and communication technology and opportunities to enhance education, health and indeed job processes,” Ms. Jagan added.
President Jagdeo told the gathering that his administration supports the development of the University and the commitment of the $600M is “just the beginning.
“…Before the end of this year, we would have a loan that we are negotiating with the CDB that will provide to the University of Guyana another $600M to use for further development of information technology here on the campus,” the President announced.
“I am pleased to be here to associate myself and my Government with the opening of this wonderful facility. It is a dream come through for some students and maybe some people on the campus and it may be that it’s a promise kept, but for me it represents something a little different because this facility and much more that will take place, will serve to erode some suspicions that may be harboured in some quarters,” the President asserted.
The President dismissed criticisms about the government’s perceived lack of commitment to the university’ development, and pointed out that the IT Centre’s opening is one of the tangible demonstrations of interest and commitment to the institution’s improvement. Government has put some $200M towards the construction and outfitting of the Centre.
The Guyanese leader recalled that the PPP/C Government’s decision to construct another campus for the university in Berbice was met with accusations along racial and political lines.
According to Mr. Jagdeo, these accusations totally ignored the fact that several administrations, including the PNC administration, had thought about building a UG campus in Berbice.
“They never accomplished this, but they thought about building the campus (in Berbice) and studies were done to that effect,” President Jagdeo stated.
Mr. Jagdeo also indicated that from time to time his administration has been, and would continue to be, critical of various aspects of the University but pointed out that these have and will always be constructive criticisms aimed at the betterment of the institution.
“We are critical because we care, because we want to see the University succeed. No country can develop without preparing cadres and the University of Guyana has been doing this well for several years and we want it to do better,” President Jagdeo posited.
According to him, the Government’s criticism surrounds the need for more external examiners, the need for a fair appeal for students, tenure of lecturers, insufficient publications by staff and management related issues, among others.
Also making presentations at the ceremony were Vice-Chancellor, Dr. James Rose; United States Ambassador, Mr. Roland Bullen; and Regional Director of Nortel Networks, Mr. Barry Nugent. Among those present were Pro-Chancellor of UG, Dr. Prem Misir; Education Minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey; several senior Government functionaries; members of the Diplomatic Community and special invitees. Deputy Vice Chancellor of UG, Mr. Al Creighton, chaired the function. (Mark Ramotar)