Georgetown, Guyana – (September 25, 2015) The eGovernment Project has progressed to an advanced stage, with benefits expected to be reaped by the end of the year. The Ministry of the Presidency spoke with Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and Advisor on eGovernment, Floyd Levi on the status of implantation.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said that Guyanese cannot expect significant progress in the not too distant future despite the challenges this project has faced under the previous administration.
“We are acting in a more decisive manner. You will see lots of things happening. As you know Mr. Dax (Dax Construction Company) has given up on that contract that he had with the previous government and he has returned the cable to us and we are doing an assessment of the cable itself to see how useful it is. As I indicated in the National Assembly, we are going to work on the leg between Georgetown and Linden so that all of those communities between can benefit tremendously,” Minister Harmon said.
Mr. Levi added the eGovernment Guyana Unit is focused on facilitating the implementation of the infrastructural networks – the transmission and the data networks and the setting up of ICT Hubs across the country.
Transmission and Data Networks
The Transmission project revolves around the roll-out of a fiber optic network that allows high speed data, video and voice communication. The project’s aim is the installation of a robust infrastructure that will be utilised for the consolidation of government processes.
This data network project is committed to the establishment of one centralised facility, which will host most of the government ICT applications, offer internet service and support operational and maintenance services. The Data Center will be established in Georgetown.
Mr. Levi explained that works at the Unit were quickly progressing as he pointed out that the focus now is to ensure that Guyanese can benefit.
“With regard to the networks, which are on the infrastructural side of things, we are operationalising that network to allow for persons to start using it for government purposes, but at the same time, we want to focus Government IT on delivering services to the people. So that is the way we see the unfolding of the network. Our immediate task is to operationalise the eGovernment network, which will bring connectivity to all government ministries and agencies between Charity in Region Two to Springlands, Region Six,” the advisor disclosed.
He noted that at present, tests and checks are being conducted with Huawei, the builder of the network. These checks are expected to be completed before the end of October.
In the meantime, Levi disclosed that that the government was focusing on having the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Hubs and Internet Access Points operational by the end of 2016. These are expected to benefit all Guyanese but more so, the remote and under developed communities.
“One of our projects is to provide internet access points and ICT hubs. Internet access spots are just that; they are like hotspots. We intend to put internet access points in government buildings. The ICT Hubs [are] really going to be located in communities where we will provide more than internet access points but actually provide in a building, access and equipment for persons to use. So if you are from a poor or remote community and you do not have a computer, you go to the ICT hub and there will be computers, internet access and also resources that you may need to access a government service, for example, to print a passport application,” Levi explained.
At present, he said that the unit was also working on making most government services available online so that there Hubs can be utilised to the fullest extent.
The Unit is working on prototypes, which will be used as a pilot before the full project is implemented.
“We want to have a pilot where we can see where we are falling down, what are the weaknesses, so that we can fix those before implementing on the large scale. The prototypes will be tested for the remainder of 2015,” he said.
Support from Microsoft
The advisor recently met with regional representatives of the Microsoft and CISCO Corporations to discuss support for the planned Information Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.
According to him, plans are underway to consolidate internet access and email services for ministries, which would soon see email addresses for these agencies being moved to the gov.gy domain.
Levi explained that the collaboration between the two organisations was crucial to the overall success of that Unit.
“Microsoft is the leader in productivity suites. There are products that are being offered by them that are useful to us in Guyana. Both of us want to ensure that we are in accordance with their licensing agreement. They want to ensure that not only is Guyana compliant but that we benefit from being compliant and at the moment almost of all our agencies are compliant with their licensing agreement. By doing the right thing, we have access to a huge repository of Microsoft resources, technical support, training for our user and engineers among others,” Levi detailed
The high-profile team of executives who were part of the engagement included Senior Systems Engineer at Cisco Systems Incorporated Garfield Gordon, Territory Business Manager, Trinidad and the Caribbean Cisco Systems Incorporated Richard Doldron, and Corporate Territory Manager for Microsoft in Trinidad and Tobago, Jonathan Jagai.