My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Senator Daryl Vaz and the WEO NRI - Bragging Rights and Broadband Rights Required

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Senator Daryl Vaz and the WEO NRI - Bragging Rights and Broadband Rights Required

My belief is that to have no wants is divine

Socrates (Xenophone, Memorabilia)

It is bad enough that Jamaica has a technology crisis as re-echoed in the article “Technology Crisis”, published Monday April 18, 2011 by Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Simon Crosskill - this is DEFINITELY NO storm in a teacup; it is a very real problem, a Jamaica lacks any IT or even Telecoms or Engineering entrepreneurial base whatsoever, as start-ups, Silicon Valley Style, cannot find Venture Capital (VC) funding to even get off the ground.

It’s just downloading, gadgetry and “bling”, this being my observation from a long time ago while observing the students while at The University of the West Indies. 

I am a former Telecoms Technician, Level 2 from C&W (2001 to 2004) with a background in Mobile and Generator Maintenance (Basic). Why on God’s Green Earth would I want to be a manager when my Engineering and Telecoms Field pay way more at the SAME level – BOTH Locally and Abroad?

Worse, my Audia Granston, the SDA Kick-ass princess, and NCTVET Certified Cosmetologist, when she was alive, got my back on this as per my blog tribute eulogy to my beloved deceased entitled “Audia Granston, Jack Abramoff and the Culture of Innovation and Spirit of Creativity in Jamaica”.

We are number seventy three (73) on the World Economic Forum's Networked Readiness Index (NRI), twenty eight (28) flight of stairs tumble down the staircase from our previous low of forty five (45) back in 2006-2007.

I was so distraught at the ranking, despite the launch by the Big Three (3) Telecoms Providers of various Wireless Broadband Internet offerings that I penned an article on the Geezam blog entitled “Jamaica's Low Net Penetration - Broadband Internet A Universal Right” in short order.

In this article I posited the idea of Broadband as Right on the same level as that of Life, Liberty and Freedom of Speech or even the right to potable Water and Sanitation, guaranteed under the UNCHR (United Nation Charter for Human Rights).  

As in Finland!

This NRI is seated snug within a thick 100 + page Report called the Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011 which was published by the World Economic Forum (WEO) and co-authored by Thierry Geiger.

In summary, we are screwed.

Coupled with the results from the Dr. Hopeton Dunn-led Caribbean ICT Indicators and Broadband Survey of two thousand two hundred (2200) households by the Mona School of Business (MSB) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, and you realize, whether the information from the WEO is dated or not, the UWI study comes to the same conclusions, expressed in more detail:

  1. 15.6% of households have Internet access
  2. 38 % of individuals use the Internet once per day
  3. 24% have  home PC
  4. Average users range in age from fifteen to thirty four (15 to 34)

Reasons for the Lack of Internet Access?:

  1. 32.4% said Laptops and PC’s are too expensive
  2. 23.9% are just not interested (shocking!!)
  3. 15.2% said Internet Service cost was too high
  4. 10.4% cited lack of Internet access in their Area
  5. 8.4% mentioned they did not know how to use  computer

Online Activity:

  1. 71.7% used it for Social Networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter
  2. 65.4% used the Internet for Education purposes

Already my article on the Geezam blog is getting me fan-mail, as my blunt analysis came to a  really swift anecdotal conclusion: computers and Internet access are still being perceived as the play toys of rich people, such as Carlette Deleon aka the Pet Tales Chick aka “Dilly” of Television Jamaica or Ingrid Riley of Silicon Caribe  fame.

I say “rich” as Carlette Deleon, who is a follower of my blog, was seen sporting an Apple iPad on Television Jamaica several episodes back. Ingrid Riley apparently has her OWN TV streaming TV podcast, called Silicon Caribe TV and are BOTH PR (Public Relations) People.

My experiences from my Summers in 1999 and 2000 working at Red Stripe with the famous Grace Silvera, who back then was just a Brand Manager, is that PR and Marketing people, aside from being false and not wearing underwear, tend to be image conscious.

Thus, they are usually not as they appear before you, even on television and may in fact be merely scripted presenters of information presented to them by researchers not people who actually work in IT, Telecoms and Engineering Fields.

Carlette Deleon presentation on Radio reduces IT to fashionable “bling”, furniture to have to impress friends and give to children as Christmas gifts.

Whether or not they have money (I bet JA$10 they are BOTH loaded!) the image is already being sold on Television: to own a PC, you must sound educated and have an Apple iPad.

Good for sales of the high end computing devices - and thus leaving many out of the loop thinking that computing is not affordable.

Even Dean McClarty of Watt's New Ltd, host of the TechTutorial, makes you realize that these gadgets are out of your reach unless you have job making at least JA$1.2 million per year before tax.

Thanks a lot, Television Jamaica!!

I am sooo inclined to buy these expensive play toys!!

What of discussions about Open Source Projects? Robotics Design?

Small Scale Foundry for IC chip manufacture?

Nuclear Power in Jamaica (my favourite discussion topic by the way)?

Worse than this perception, is that Jamaicans may actually view computers as only being good for just burning DVD and CD’s of music and videos.

Developing love of Gadgetry helps, I agree, which I guess is the point of these shows and online shows such as CNET News.

But when this love becomes  talking point for fashion and the persons speaking about said gadgetry do not engage the listeners in meaningful ways that the Technology can empower and created opportunities for entrepreneurship, then IT, Telecoms and Engineering has lost is savour.

Even CNET News covers non-Computing topics!!

That and Audia Granston, my deceased SDA Princess, never liked Carlette Deleon aka the Pet Tales Chick aka “Dilly” of Television Jamaica, calling her  “uptown poodle”. Then again, Audia was jealous of even my female co-workers, as when I was working at Telecom Provider CLARO, she oft called me to know my whereabouts.

Nice to have cooked food, so I love the attention and Praises to God Sermon and Lollipop Songs at late night hours. So I had no complaints, being as physically and sexually aggressive females tend to gravitate towards me anyway.

Its worse when the Senator Daryl Vaz, Minister of Information and Telecoms, who was apparently very visible to even have his picture snapped with the CEO and President of FLOW Michele “Dallas” English and Managing Director of LIME, Garry Sinclair was unavailable for comment about the situation when contacted by the Media, inclusive of The Jamaica Gleaner.

Evidence of this can be seen in the articles in BOTH The Jamaica Gleaner and The Jamaica Observer  in articles titled “US$543-million Internet Plan”, published Thursday, April 07, 2011 by Ingrid Brown, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Observer  and “Jamaican Schools to go high-tech”, published Thursday April 7, 2011 by Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner respectively.

Shocking news and now shocking reaction from the Minister!

I hope he plans to appear on Smile Jamaica on Television Jamaica on Tuesday April 19th 2011, The Day After (TV 1983) and have Dean McClarty of Watt's New Ltd flash his pearly whites and grill him on his reaction.

This as some answers should be forthcoming from the Minister as to what he plans to do. Aside from photo-ops to win the upcoming General Election with a Project that will only come to fruition five (5) years into the future.

This is the case with the Islandwide Fiber Optic Network Project whose funding and benefits are explained in my blog article entitled “LIME, FLOW and the JA$543-million Internet Plan - Ebony and Ivory”.

This “Election Mode” thinking appears to be the apparent reason for the JLP (Jamaica Labor Party) - led Government of Jamaica kow-towing to the PNP (People’s National Party) threats of protest as stated in my blog article entitled “Ad Valorem Gas, 10 percent GCT on electricity and Alternative Energy - Night and Day”.

Apparently Senator Daryl Vaz, Minister of Information and Telecoms has been caught napping since Thursday April 7th 2011AD, the day after the Media published the little-known UAFCL (Universal Access Fund Company Limited) funding of the project.

This as the bad news came in the following week when the news broke in The Jamaica Observer on Wednesday April 13th 2011 as stated in the slew of articles below:

  1. VIDEO: Action needed to raise Jamaica's Internet access”, published Friday, April 15, 2011 by Ross Sheil, Online Project Manager, The Jamaica Observer
  2. Jamaica's Technology Decline”, published Wednesday, April 13, 2011, The Jamaica Observer
  3. 38% of Jamaicans now Daily Internet Users”, published Thursday, April 14, 2011, The Jamaica Observer

I already laid out my solution in the above article on the Geezam blog entitled “Jamaica's Low Net Penetration - Broadband Internet A Universal Right” as mentioned at the start of my article.

What will Senator Daryl Vaz, Minister of Information and Telecoms do, seeing as ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) is really deciding factor when FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) chose to invest in country?

His silence on the issue is deafening as this article is sent off to the published, who hopefully will forgive my misspelled prose and publish this article which is of utmost importance to Jamaica’s Long term push towards Vision 2030.

An Interactive Investment Map from the MonaGIS and JAMPRO as described in my Geezam blog entitled article “JAMPRO, MonaGIS and the Interactive Investment Map - Consider.Evaluate.Act” is not enough, Senator Daryl Vaz, Minister of Information and Telecoms.

A culture of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capitalism needs to be created in Jamaica to foster the development of our own IT, Telecom and Engineering fields in Jamaica

Fields which are still being relegated to being merely “technicians”, with their ideas discouraged and forced to take on Management when we are not so inclined, discouraging innovation as the blog article of fellow  Geezam blog writer Roger in his article “Jamaica's Lost Innovators - An untapped Source of Economic Prosperity” asserts.

Especially in a country that does not encourage innovation and engineering culture, which is one of “Bragging rights”!!


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