P.M. ARTHUR: THERE WILL BE NO DIGITAL DIVIDE IN BARBADOS

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Government will ensure that with the advent of information technology, there will be no digital divide in Barbados.

This is the promise of Prime Minister Owen Arthur who told persons attending the official opening of Rices Pavilion & Resource Centre yesterday that a new inequality based on access to technology was emerging and this had to be removed.

“…There are a large number of children of poor people who do not have access to such facilities at home, and left unaddressed, we can face a new inequality.  Not an income inequality, but a digital divide where some people can advance because of access to the technology, while others stay backward because they don’t have it.  And it is the government’s determination that there should be no digital divide in this country,” the Prime Minister stressed.

To correct this disparity, he revealed that government had started building pavilions with resource centres, “so that at the level of the community, children could have access to the internet and be trained in information technology.”

Prime Minister Arthur also called on community groups to assume more responsibility for the management and the operation of community affairs.

While stressing that there was not a need for the country to go back to an old form of local government, he said: “I believe that in this country there is a tremendous capacity for us to devolve responsibility to community groups so that they can be responsible for the management, maintenance and operation of community facilities to a greater extent than has been the case in the past.  Our national institutions would retain an oversight for setting the standards, providing the financial resources, and for making sure that the things are run according to plan.”

In addition, the Prime Minister made reference to the further development of Barbados.  Stating that this country must be taken to the next level and new frontiers of development opened, he identified the south east of the island as the next major frontier of development.

“It has the land space, it has the majestic physical conditions, and it has a people who have a sense of enterprise and entrepreneurship…Hence the government is already supporting the expansion of tourism in this parish,” Mr. Arthur revealed.

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