Sun | May 19, 2024

Kellits residents grateful for public Wi-Fi

Published:Tuesday | December 14, 2021 | 12:08 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Winston Maragh, mayor of May Pen; Dwight Sibbles, member of parliament for Clarendon North;  Kayon Mitchell, director of Corporate Communications at Flow; Daniel Dawes, chief executive officer, Universal Service Fund (USF); Noel Nembhard, councillor for th
Winston Maragh, mayor of May Pen; Dwight Sibbles, member of parliament for Clarendon North; Kayon Mitchell, director of Corporate Communications at Flow; Daniel Dawes, chief executive officer, Universal Service Fund (USF); Noel Nembhard, councillor for the Kellits division and Texal Christie give the stamp of approval for the community Wi-Fi hotspot in Kellits Square on Friday.

A PROMISE made and a promise kept – the sentiments echoed by residents at the launch of free community Wi-Fi in Kellits Square in Clarendon on Friday. Enthused residents who gathered at the launch site, eager to connect their devices on Friday, said that Internet access was a much-needed resource in the rural town.

The project is part of the free community Wi-Fi launch series being spearheaded by the Universal Service Fund (USF.) Kellits is the fourth Clarendon community to benefit under the programme. May Pen, Chapelton, and Lionel Town benefited previously.

“A promise made, a promise kept. Thanks to the MP, the councillor, the mayor and USF,” said Attelia Mitchell.

Anthony Johnson, a vendor in Kellits Square said that the community Wi-Fi symbolises the end of his son’s struggle to access virtual classes. With no Internet access at home, Johnson told The Gleaner that his 11-year-old son was at a disadvantage, citing irregular access to classes due to little or no mobile data.

“It’s a good idea especially right now in the pandemic. Now the children can get to do them schoolwork, and so forth. My son don’t have [Wi-Fi] at home, so this is a good opportunity for him ‘cause him can come up here with me and use his tablet.”

Similar sentiments were shared by another vendor, Albertha Nembhard, who said that the Wi-Fi would be of great help to her grandchildren.

She added: “It is great. It is very nice in the community... I love that because it’s the first time a thing like that come into the community.”

Citing connectivity woes, principal of Kellits High, Texal Christie, said students from the rural community have been dealt a raw deal since the COVID-19 pandemic- mandated virtual learning. “This area has been one of the hardest hit for this online learning. I can tell you that the exam results were not looking good because of the kind of service that we receive,” Christie said during the launch ceremony held at the school.

“Since recent, the word Internet is at the forefront of our vocabulary, and it is going to be with us. This is the way of the future, and so we’re really happy to receive this wonderful privilege in Kellits so that our citizens can benefit - and that includes our teachers and our students,” added Christie.

The principal also urged the Ministry of Education to place his school atop the priority list of institutions to be equipped with Internet access.

Describing Kellits as a fast-developing town, councillor Noel Nembhard, who represents the division, assured community folks that he and the member of Parliament would be working assiduously to bring more development into the rural area. “We are here to represent you ... and nothing but the best for northern Clarendon. Everything that is out there, we a go seek it for Kellits to get it,” he continued.

Three communities across each constituency are set to benefit under the programme. In Clarendon Northern, the Brandon Hill and Aenon Town communities are named as the other two beneficiary communities.

Member of Parliament Dwight Sibblies, who described Clarendon Northern as a large constituency, has requested that a fourth community, Nairne Castle, be added to the list.

olivia.brown@gleanerjm.com