ROC Ambassador Chiou Gow-Wei also presented a cheque to Attorney General Vincent Byron, the minister responsible for communications. The cheque of US$220,000 is the ROC’s contribution to the project with government providing an additional EC$500.000.
According to the minister responsible for public infrastructure, the facility has been closed for about three years following water damage. He disclosed however that work will begin shortly. He informed, “The main contractor is Taiwanese because of the type of work that is to be done, but the sub-contractor will be local. We look forward to the start of the project shortly.”
Pierre Bowrin, the Government’s ICT policy advisor, speaking at the media launch at OTI, reminded that the National ICT Strategic plan requires the development of ICT human resources, the building and strengthening the national ICT infrastructure, as well as leveraging ICTs for economic and social development.
Bowrin stated, “The repair of the Centre is more than just a repair of the building. It’s allowing us to restart the National ICT Development Agenda, which has been stagnated for some time.”
ROC Ambassador Chiou Gow-Wei recalled that the Embassy of ROC cooperated with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to build the very first ICT Centre in the Eastern Caribbean in 2007. The ambassador said that following the restoration of the facility, it can be an important developmental tool.
The ambassador stated, “After three or four months, the ICT Centre will again become the nurturing ground for our human capacity involvement in innovation in St. Kitts and Nevis. Information related workshops can once again be hosted by the ICT Centre, which would effectively promote the island as a leader in the field of entrpreneurship, information and communications technologies in the Caribbean region.”
Minister of Communications Byron informed the media, stating, “After much discussion with several key stakeholders and an assessment by specialist engineers, a feasible course of action has been derived to restore and enhance the operations of this critical national asset.”
Opened in 2007, operations had to be suspended in 2012 due to serious water damage. Communications Officials said the facility once served as a data center for core government applications and web portals, as a business incubator facility, as a training and certification facility for a variety of ICT certifications.
AG Byron said, “The realization of the restoration project clearly demonstrates the Government’s unwavering quest to strengthen the ICT Sector, as well as to restore a long-standing symbol of friendship.