Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Maryland gets much-needed cybercafé

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Chief Executive Officer of the Universal Service Find, Hugh Cross, (seated left) checks out one of the computers at the new Maryland community cybercafe while community members look on. At right (seated) is principal of the Maryland All-age School. Andria Dehaney-Dinham.

The community of Maryland in Hanover now has its own community cybercafé , thanks to the recent opening of the much-needed facility at Maryland All-Age School.

The facility was established with a $3.6-million grant from the Ministry of Technology's Universal Service Fund (USF). The cybercafé  features 13 computers and a server, two printers, furniture, multimedia projector and screen, and Wi-Fi access.

In his address at the official opening ceremony for the cybercafé , Hugh Cross, the chief executive officer of the USF, said the centre is the 251st to be established in the island as a community access points.

"I am so happy to see the involvement of the entire community. I must commend the Maryland Community Development Committee," said Cross. "Let me tell you, this is not a feature of as many communities in Jamaica as we would like."

"Our mandate is to ensure that every Jamaican has easy and reliable access to the information superhighway," added Cross. "When we say 'every', we mean none excluded ... and we don't care that Maryland never had Internet before; we put it in because our people must have access. We want them to have access so they can improve themselves individually, their economic and social development, and also for national advancement."

Cross said the facility would make it easier for high-school students from Maryland to prepare their School-Based Assessments (SBA), as well as enable other residents to conduct banking, bill payment transactions and access government services online without leaving the confines of the community for the town of Lucea, which is 14 kilometres away.

COMMUNICATION WORLD

"I am going to suggest to you that this simple facility has the potential to transform the entire Maryland community and its environs beyond our wildest imagination. And Maryland may never be the same again. Once you have access, the world of communication is open to you; you can communicate with anybody in the world who has access as well," noted Cross.

Cross said community members could also pursue online employment where the facility could serve as their home base, and even consider pursuing tertiary studies without leaving the community.

"Do you know that a student from Maryland who matriculates, having left high school could pursue a first degree right from here? You can go beyond that; you can do a master's degree and nowadays you can do a Doctoral degree after which you refer to that person as 'Doctor so and so'. And, ladies and gentlemen, I am not talking about the fly by night universities; I am talking about Ivy League universities ... ," Cross said.

"Use the facility well. Take care of it. If ever the demand exceeds the supply, USF is prepared to consider and application for an expansion of the facility," he said.