Guyana is becoming a digital state geared at establishing a network of connectivity by linking every person, community, and government agency in the entire country, President Granger said at the opening of the Centre for Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) at the University of Guyana’s (UG) Turkeyen Campus yesterday. The centre was constructed to the tune of US$1.5M, with the government investing US$500,000 and India investing the remainder.

President Granger said becoming a digital state would see Guyana integrating more fully with the Caribbean and the rest of the world.

“The digital state, by applying ICT to add value to our production and service sectors, will trigger economic transformation. It will spawn knowledge-based industries, diversify the economy away from overdependence on primary production, move manufacturing up the value chain, and tap into larger external markets,” he said, noting that the establishment of the CEIT is a step in the right direction.

The Head of State also said that a digital state can deploy ICT effectively to promote productivity and competitiveness, noting that it is an implementation of technology to foster innovation and, consequently, economic growth. 

“The digital state will deliver quality public services all over the country. It will reduce the need for citizens to travel outside of their regions of residence, in years to come, to access legal services, acquire passports, examine their academic and medical records, record births and deaths, receive social security benefits, register businesses, renew drivers’ licences, file income-tax returns and embark on trade and investment enterprises,” he said.

In this vein, the President noted that the establishment of capital towns in the ten administrative regions allows for the realisation of ICT-enabled, one-stop government centres which can provide public services. These centres, he said, would minimise the need for citizens to visit multiple government agencies to complete a single transaction. 

President Granger expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of India for its assistance in establishing the centre and for its pledge of continued support.

“India is a world leader in ICT. It possesses the experience and expertise to help Guyana to develop its ICT manpower. The Centre of Excellence is another example of India’s continuing support for Guyana’s development,” the President said, noting that the establishment of the Centre represents another milestone to add to the legacy of outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Venkatachalam Mahalingam.

High Commissioner Mahalingam, in turn, said that he was pleased to have participated in the formal inauguration of the Centre. The CEIT, he said, is the second Centre of Excellence in the entire Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Mrs Catherine Hughes, noted that the world is rapidly changing and technology is replacing all traditions. She said the public servants who will receive ICT advanced training at CEIT will be expected to keep the government’s online presence user-friendly and up to date.

“We expect them to use their knowledge of backend computer operations, which they will be taught here, to create more interactive portals for the public to use, more websites that are available, and can be used by persons with disabilities. Please allow me to express my own gratitude to the Government of the Republic of India and for your invaluable support,” Minister Hughes said.


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