December 7, 2010
Laptops begin to arrive

Over 2,000 laptops donated to St.Vincent and the Grenadines by the goverment of Portugal arrived in the state last Friday night.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was on hand at the E.T. Joshua Airport to receive the Intel Classmate laptop computers, which arrived on a Venezuelan military aircraft which touched down at 8:15p.m.

Gonsalves said the shipment is part of 30,000 laptops promised to primary, secondary, and post-secondary students by Portugal.

On Monday, September 27, Gonsalves disclosed that he had secured commitment from Portugal’s Prime Minister, José Sócrates, to donate the computers.

By Monday, October 25, he informed the nation that Portugal had informed him that the computers will be delivered by January 2011.

Gonsalves said last Friday, the computers will arrive in batches from Venezuela between now and January.

Portugal had arranged with Venezuela to assemble the computers for St.Vincent and the Grenadines. It is reported that Venezuela has purchased close to one million laptops from Portugal for its students.

“I want to thank the President of Venezuela for cooperating with the Prime Minister of Portugal,” said Gonsalves, noting that Friday, December 3, was a historic day for St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Now there were doubting Thomases, even when all the agreements had been made and all the pronouncements had been laid out. Now the doubting Thomases must know that they have no reason any longer to doubt. The first batch of the laptops has arrived,” said an elated Gonsalves.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker disclosed that a delegation from the Education Ministry of Portugal was expected to arrive in the state on Sunday to meet with a committee that was set up to plan how the laptops can be best utilized.

She said that even though there is limited time to organize the necessary platforms, the staff of the Ministry of Educations is prepared to fully commit themselves to the task.

The Permanent Secretary stated that they have been working with Venezuelan and Portuguese officials to develop a programme for integrating ICT into the delivery of the curriculum within St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

She said a workshop will be held here this week geared at introducing teachers to the laptops and software.

Bonadie-Baker encouraged Vincentians to make the most of the laptops when they integrate them in the education system. She stressed that receiving such a gift from the Venezuelan and Portuguese governments at this time will push this country further into the 21st century with the use of this technology.

Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuala to St.Vincent and the Grenadines Yoel Perez Marcano was also present at the ceremony.

At the Prime Minister’s initial announcement of the computers, Andre Bailey, a technical expert in the Ministry of Telecommunications, disclosed that each computer has 1 gigabyte of RAM, a 9 inch screen, 30 GB Hard drive, a web cam and WiFi, and is water and shock resistant.