A Digital Future for Diego Martin (T & T)

In Trinidad and Tobago, various ministers joined Prime Minister Keith Rowley to inaugurate a state-of-the-art ICT Access Centre in the Diego Martin community, located west of the capital city of Port of Spain. This is part of the government’s efforts to provide access to digital technology and training to ICT-underserved communities in Trinidad and Tobago, especially to local students. Here is a release from the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

Diego Martin is the latest community to benefit from a state-of-the-art ICT Access Centre. It is located inside the newly re-constructed Diego Martin North Community Centre on the corner of Jerry Street and Diego Martin Main Road.

The community centre was officially opened on Thursday May 5, 2023 by the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, the Minister of Digital Transformation, Senator the Honourable Hassel Bacchus and, the Minister of Sport and Community Development, the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe. The Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, Mr. Sigler Jack was also present to mark this auspicious event. The ICT Access Centre is part of an ongoing partnership between the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Ministry of Sport and Community Development to provide ICT-underserved communities with access to the internet, desktop computers, laptops and printing facilities.

Senior government officials expressed excitement for the community to visit and use the centre to its fullest. “You have a great space to execute great ideas, please use it,” were the words of encouragement by the Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley. Senator, the Honourable, Hassel Bacchus also said he was excited and proud that the ICT Access Centre will provide digital technology to support the advancement of the Diego Martin community.

The ICT Access Centre is designed to provide the community with:

· Basic ICT Training;

· Appropriate spaces to Connect and Create, and Educate and Innovate;

· Training and Conference facilities; and

· a Wi-Fi lounge/ Patio.

Primary and Secondary school students from the community were the first to benefit from the facilities and training at the ICT Access Centre. They learned the fundamentals of computer coding with the guidance of Isaiah Colthrust, a member of the Ministry’s communications team. This was done through a series of fun games produced by Google called Blockly Games. Blockly Games uses step-by-step games to explain the logic of programming and computer coding to youth.

Some of the students, who had never been exposed to programming and computer coding seemed to be naturals and expressed excitement to visit the ICT Access Centre again. The activity reflected some of the upcoming Ministry initiatives including basic digital literacy training which aims to ensure that citizens are comfortable and proficient in using digital technology.

The ICT Access Centre was also well received by the Diego Martin Community Council. The council president, Karen Alexis said “I appreciate the digital space, especially in the world we live in today and I’m excited for the youth in the community to get guidance from ICT trainers here.”

The community centre also features an auditorium, gym, laundry facilities, and kitchen. The Ministry remains committed to providing access to digital technology and training to ICT-underserved communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

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