“The Internet penetration rate in Guyana today stands at 305,007 persons. That means that 39.6 per cent of the current population of this country are using and connected to the Internet. It might sound low, but it’s over 300,000 persons.”
These were the words of the Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes as she recently defended in the National Assembly the frequent statements in the public domain regarding Guyana’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
“I know in the press, I’ve been carried talking about our drive to provide connectivity. We’ve connected all the Ministries at this point in time. Over 150 government agencies, over 195 schools and we’ve created and opened in communities over 125 ICT hubs where there’s free Internet access,” she said.
Hughes stated that while persons may say there was an absence of a strategy, it actually has not been put out for consultation. But according to the Minister, that does not mean that things are not happening, as she believes there is enough indication and discussion about a strategy.
“It’s my pleasure to say that the Ministry of Public Telecommunications is close to completing and bringing an ICT strategy out for consultations,” she related. “But in the meantime, I want to say that almost four or five times a month we demonstrate in a tangible way how that strategy is working.”
Earlier this month, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) had hosted a road show in collaboration with the Ministry in various regions across Guyana. Some of the activities that were featured included an e-agriculture workshop, community outreaches, a cyber-security workshop, and an ICT youth fair.
At a recent press conference, Hughes had announced that the Government would be formulating a policy framework expected to bridge the gap which exists between the hinterland and coastal communities and steer Guyana into the 21st Century.
The Bureau of Statistics, in the census conducted in 2012, had listed Guyana’s population count at “746,955.”