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10 Additional Municipal Corporations Receive Technological Devices Valued $12.3M

JIS NEWS, Kingston: Ten additional Municipal Corporations are being provided with FortiGate devices, valued at approximately $12.3 million, to strengthen their digital framework and boost their technological capabilities.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, through collaboration with the National Works Agency (NWA), e-Gov Jamaica Limited and the Universal Service Fund (USF), was able to procure FortiGate Firewalls to improve the Corporations’ information and communications technology (ICT) security and connectivity.

The devices are already being utilised in four other local authorities.
The devices, inclusive of 12 FortiGate routers, 11 FortiGate access points, and the accompanying three-year support, were handed over to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development on Hagley Park Road in Kingston on November 3 by the USF.

Addressing the presentation ceremony, Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, said the devices will assist in boosting service delivery at the Municipal Corporations.

Noting that this represents a significant milestone in the work of the local authorities, Mr. McKenzie said the provisions “will enable us to increase our capacity to deliver, especially when it comes on to building applications”.

“One of the ways that we are looking to strengthen the work of the local authorities is to move into the age of technology. There are some Municipal Corporations, even as we speak, that have real Internet challenges at some of the locations. So, what we are developing here is a cross-government approach to increase technology [and] to increase the potential for service delivery,” he pointed out.

The Minister said ICT integration in the operations of the local authorities is critical, as they have a vast area of service responsibilities. These relate to building applications, places of amusement licenses, hairdressers, and barbers.

Mr. McKenzie urged the Chief Executive Officers of the various Municipal Corporations to ensure that information technology officers receive continuous training in new apparatuses.

“They must be exposed to the latest technology that is available,” he further underscored.

Human Resource and Administration Manager at the USF, Shanice Cornwall, said provision of the devices forms part of Jamaica’s digital transformation.

She said the agency will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the country’s digital landscape is robust and inclusive.

Chief Executive Officer, St. Ann Municipal Corporation, Jennifer Brown Cunningham, expressed gratitude for the devices.

“We have been on this journey for a little while with e-Gov, the NWA and also with USF, in building out the backbone of this infrastructure that is required for us to be feeding to all of the other Ministries that will benefit from having this programme on the ground,” she said.

Under the Government’s National Broad Band Initiative, the Municipal Corporations have been outfitted with the necessary equipment from the GovNet project.

This serves as an Internet-connection hub for the courts, schools, the NWA’s offices, and the Jamaica Fire Brigade, and allows the Municipal Corporations to have access to AMANDA using the broadband.

The AMANDA (Application Management and Data Automation) system is a web-based system aimed at providing greater transparency in the building approval process and relies heavily on Internet connection to provide faster services.