The millionaire and the island nation: Eccentric mogul Felix Dennis to buy one laptop for every child in St Vincent and the Grenadines

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It is a good thing for the world’s 193rd most populous country, St Vincent and the Grenadines, that it has an Honorary Consul in Warwickshire, London’s Independent reports. Here are some excerpts. Follow the link below for the complete report.

More fortuitously still, he is the eccentric and very wealthy publisher Felix Dennis, who has just brokered a deal for the tiny Caribbean nation that would be the envy of any education authority in Britain.

After rounds of negotiation – involving the bearded British media mogul, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Microsoft, the Taiwanese computer giant Acer, the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his troubled successor Nicholas Maduro – each one of the 12,500 secondary school children in the island country is to be given a new laptop computer.

Mr Dennis, 66, hopes the initiative will help St Vincent and the Grenadines, which has a population similar to that of Chesterfield, to grow into a technology hub with a population trained in computer skills. “The schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines have very limited access to IT facilities at the moment, let alone each individual child,” he told The Independent. “I’m delighted that Dennis Publishing has managed to help push this deal through so that every secondary school child can have a laptop to learn with.”

The publisher’s relationship with the Caribbean nation began more than 15 years ago after he purchased Mandalay, David Bowie’s hilltop villa on the exclusive island of Mustique, which is one of the Grenadines and is a favourite holiday destination of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The couple’s visit last year coincided with the island’s annual Blues Festival in which Mr Dennis, who takes part every year, performed his not-unaccomplished version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”.

. . .

Each year, Dennis gives four of his best-performing UK staff a holiday at Mandalay. One of those, Julian Lloyd-Evans, Dennis Publishing’s managing director of advertising, worked on the computer project and said he hoped it would have a lasting legacy. The software partners have given the schools a five-year licence to cover the children until the end of their studies. Teachers will receive specialist training in webinars from London.

Lloyd-Evans said he thought the project could inspire other similar initiatives in other parts of the Caribbean and in other developing nations. “We all hope that St Vincent and the Grenadines becomes a fantastic testimonial for what technology can do to inspire children and a new generation. We hope that this could be the start of similar programmes in the future.”

For the original report go to http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/the-millionaire-and-the-island-nation-eccentric-mogul-felix-dennis-to-buy-one-laptop-for-every-child-in-st-vincent-and-the-grenadines-9244582.html

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