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Numerous ‘no good’ OLPF laptops; project to be reviewed- Harmon

Minister of State Joseph Harmon visiting the head office of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project.

Government believes that the notebooks provided for nationwide distribution under the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project were of poor quality and there appears to be no linkage between the mini-computers and Internet access.

That conclusion was made by Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon following a visit to the OLPF’s operations at Forshaw Street, Queenstown, Georgetown.

According to a statement issued by Harmon’s office, government would be reviewing the OLPF project.

Harmon concluded that there was a large number of unserviceable and defective laptops at the project’s headquarters partly because of the absence of technical input in now accepting those worthless gifts. “This he says is as a result of bad sourcing of the equipment from the source country, China.

He believes that the sourcing was done by persons who are independent of the management of the OLPF, noting that the team at OLPF is basically managing and administering equipment that were given to them, some of which he says was basically useless,” said the statement from the Minister of State’s office,”  said the ministry’s statements.

Accompanying the minister on his visit were government Advisor on E-Governance Floyd Levi and Legal Advisor in the Ministry of the Presidency Geeta Chandan-Edmond. A tour of the office was facilitated by the OLPF Project Manager Margo Boyce.

Harmon’s visit to project’s came on the heels of a visit to the E-Government project headed by Alexei Ramotar. Harmon says the ‘One Laptop Per Family’ unit is administered by the Ministry of the Presidency, and his visit comes as part of understanding what is taking place in that ministry, and what is taking place in this particular project.

Minister Harmon concluded that government will at this time review the operations of the project, and the linkage between what is done with computers and what is done with the entire E-Governance project.

“There is a gap between the OLPF, E-Governance project and the delivery of internet service to rest of the country that needs to be properly explained. The Minister noted that nothing can be done with the laptops he has seen in storage at the OLPF office,” said the ministry in its statement.

Although the previous government had sealed a deal with a private contractor to repair the botched fibre optic cable, the Head of the E-Government Project has already told Harmon that it would be too costly to salvage that aspect of the E-Governance Project and that it should be scrapped.

The previous government under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) had conceptualized the E-Governance Project to include the laying of a fibre-optic cable from Brazil to Georgetown and the distribution of data wirelessly via several towers that have been already erected across the coastland.

The then government had envisaged that much of the bandwidth would have been used to decentralize certain government services and provide a cloud system for the storage of government information.

Authorities then had envisaged that low-income households would have been able to access cheap or free Internet.