The primary gain in installing free Wi-Fi across the island’s parks is that it provides access to all and will also power the new national digital economy, smart cities and a smart Barbados.
This point was made by Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod at the launch of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and Digicel’s Free Wi-Fi Project at the Silver Sands Recreational Park, Silver Sands, Christ Church.
The Environment Minister believes that this project, which has seen 18 NCC facilities outfitted thus far with Wi-Fi technology, “will act as a catalyst for growth, connectivity, innovation and fully integrated platforms for social and economic activity… [for example], it will play a role in assisting the underprivileged who normally would not have access at home.”
Minister Prescod also used the opportunity to highlight some of the NCC’s main functions such as “providing public access to all beaches and ensuring the safety of users of the beach through the provision of Lifeguards and Rangers”.
He reminded those present that the upkeep to the NCC’s facilities was costly and urged users to be considerate in their treatment and use of the facilities.
Also speaking at the project launch was Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams, who said the project would foster greater communication and community spirit. He cited examples of the way in which the world had changed with the advent of the internet, for example, applying for jobs online.
He admitted Government recognized the importance of the internet to development in the 21st century and as such “one of Government’s main areas of focus is the development of technology for the betterment of society… and this launch contributes to fulfilling this commitment.”
Minister Abrahams quoted scripture (Luke 12:48 – great gifts mean great responsibilities, greater gifts, greater responsibilities) to emphasize the responsibility that users of the free Wi-Fi must undertake; adding, “It should be used respectfully and not maliciously. Remember, first do no harm!
“Do not use this Wi-Fi to transmit malicious content, pornography, pictures of persons taken without their consent, fights, disgraceful behaviour, and worst of all, crime scene photos…. This free Wi-Fi has been installed for your enjoyment, education and overall edification. Use it wisely and with great appreciation.”
Acting Chief Executive Officer for Digicel Barbados Katherine Payne looked at the future benefits of the project, stating that one such benefit would be the gathering of invaluable data about the use of the facilities, and in turn, using the data for commercial value, which could offset any cost associated with the provision of the free Wi-Fi service.
“Digicel has been and will continue to be a proud partner in the vision of providing information to all and to support not just the NCC but the country, as we move further into this exciting digital journey,” said Ms Payne.
Both Ministers commended Digicel for being a part of this project and for its continued sponsorship of activities within Barbados. (SFC/BGIS)