KINGSTON, Jamaica – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh and High Commissioner of the Republic of India to Jamaica, His Excellency, Mohinder Grover, Wednesday (Sept. 3) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston, to set up an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre in Jamaica.
The MoU, which falls under the Indian Technical Co-operation Programme, entails a US$1million grant to the Government of Jamaica, and also provides for the setting up of an ICT Training Laboratory, which will be equipped with two classrooms for 25 students each. Also, the Indian Government will supply courseware, which will cover 400 to 600 students per year. In addition, trainers from India will conduct the classes.
The Heart Trust/NTA will act as the implementing agency, when the centre is established at the Excelsior Community College in Kingston.
Dr. Baugh, in his remarks, noted that “Jamaica is very proud of its linkages with India, in that, we have here in Jamaica, an embedded, engraved Indian society. We are strongly genetically linked over the centuries.”
He went on to commend India for its support of South-South development in trade, especially through technical assistance, spreading the word of information technology growth and spreading the word for knowledge-based industries.
Dr. Baugh pointed out that efforts had previously been made in Jamaica, to employ the use of Information Communication Technology, when a Satellite Communications Centre was established in Montego Bay in the 1980’s.
He noted however that “we have lost ground over the years. It is now far more competitive; many other countries have got into it and are competing and taking part and there is no doubt that we need to get more deeply involved in higher technologies – in ICT, and this partnership with India is going to give us that opportunity to elevate our skills, to train more people.”
“We are looking forward to greater friendships with India, to more economic co-operations, but certainly we appreciate that in the field of ICT, and in knowledge-based industries that everybody agrees is the new vehicle of development for the developing world, we want to make certain that we are on board with this, that we do not lose ground,” Dr. Baugh added.
High Commissioner Grover, in his response, said, “we are more than willing to share our expertise, share our experiences, which are much more relevant as members of the South-South.” (JIS)