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G’da lacking in IT development

An aide to former Grenada Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has accused the current Grenadian leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell of failing to take “serious action” to provide a solid Information Technology (IT) platform for the nation’s school system.

According to the official who worked with the 2008-13 government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the administration had signed a significant Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of India to address the island’s shortcomings in IT infrastructure and connectivity.

He chided Prime Minister Mitchell for not building on the initiative which would have benefitted the nation’s school children as schools were forced to close down during the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of school principals and teachers have complained of being asked to use an inefficient IT platform to continue classes with students.

In addition, some of the teachers lack the requisite skills to use the platform to teach the school children.

The former aide to Prime Minister Thomas said that the country’s current leader should be called upon to explain to the nation what has come of the IT project with the Indian government.

He said: “Tillman Thomas and the second NDC signed an MOU with the Indian government. The Indian High Commissioner came to Grenada to participate in the official opening. Following the signing of the MoU in October 2008 between GOI and the Government of Grenada for setting up of an ICT Centre for Excellence & Innovation in St. George’s at an estimated cost of US$ 0.8 million, the Centre was officially opened by PM Tillman Thomas on 15 April 2011 under the ITEC programme.

“The Centre provided facilities for training of over 800 students annually. The computer laboratory financed by GOI is equipped with necessary computer hardware such as servers, desktops, projectors, printers, scanners, etc. and facilitates training of about 50 students at a time in two classrooms of 25 each.

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“GOI provided requisite courseware material and software for different streams and deputed three Indian IT trainers from C-DAC for a period of two years for training and coordination. However, as per requirement they have trained local personnel who would now take up the training aspect. The government had informed the Mission that the project would soon be re-located to the old Library Building in the centre of St. George’s, the capital.

“Following the departure of the three trainers, the Centre has gone into some kind of a downslide. The matter was taken up with the Prime Minister of Grenada, who assured that they would immediately look into the matter with due attention. Since the project require constant supervision, the Mission had made a request to Ministry that a senior C-DAC technical delegation may visit the Centre at GOI’s cost and prescribe mechanisms to go forward”.

The former aide stated that Dr. Mitchell as the lead Prime Minister in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for IT and Science and Technology should offer an explanation to the people of Grenada on the status of the IT project that received funding from India.

A previous computer programme started by the first Congress government of late Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite was discontinued by the incoming Mitchell-led regime after it won the general election held in June 1995.

A National Computer Centre (NCC) was introduced by late Finance Minister George Brizan to computerize all of government’s offices from its location downstairs the Public Library on Mockton Street, in St. George’s.