New Digital Development Centre Opens In Laborie

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Laborie, St. Lucia – The recent official opening of a Taiwan-sponsored Digital Development Centre in Laborie aims to empower residents and their businesses through cutting-edge ICT resources and training opportunities.

Launched on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, the Laborie Digital Development Centre is being hailed a hub of digital excellence and innovation, and falls under the “Application of Information and Technology (ICT) in Digital Capacity Project”. The Centre, an initiative of the Government of Saint Lucia through the Department of the Public Service in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), aims to harness Taiwan’s expertise in ICT and education application to establish a state-of-the-art digital facility in the Laborie/Augier constituency.

The Centre is located upstairs the Velon John Administrative Building, and offers computer lab, service bureau office, bring your own device (BYOD) space, co-working space, and internet café.

Referring to the new ICT Centre as a “milestone”, H.E. Peter Chia-Yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, recalled the launch ceremony last September for an ambitious project that seeks to revitalize Digital Development Centres in Laborie, Dennery, Soufriere and Gros Islet.

“To close the digital gap between urban and rural communities, the Ministry of Public Service, Taiwan Embassy and Taiwan Technical Mission cooperated to design the revitalization of these ICT Centres to improve the efficiency of Government’s digital services and to nurture local talent by providing guidance on developing professional digital skills,” Ambassador Chen said.

Ambassador Chen said the establishment of the Laborie Digital Development Centre is the first of its kind in the Region, and signifies not only another  landmark in Saint Lucia’s ICT evolution, but also the strong partnership and commitment shared between Saint Lucia and Taiwan.

“We anticipate a growing number of workshops and learning opportunities at the Laborie ICT Centre, dedicated to its ongoing development to meet the evolving needs of the public and private sectors,” Ambassador Chen stated. “Above all, we envision the ICT Centre’s sustainable development as a forerunner in technological accessibility for Saint Lucia, beginning right here in Laborie.”

Hon. Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, Minister for the Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs, thanked the Taiwanese Government for its continued support, saying the project focuses heavily on the development of the community’s human resource capacity.

“The support from Taiwan is one where you have to feel it,” said Hon. Dr. Albert-Poyotte. “You may not see it, because it’s touching the lives and nerves of our people in every nook and cranny. When you transform the mindset of people, it will not be reflected in their clothing or the shoes they are wearing, but it will be reflected in their thinking and behaviour. This is where the Taiwanese have come out very strong for Saint Lucia.”

Hon. Alva Baptiste, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs, also commended the Taiwanese Government’s generosity, and spoke to the Centre’s potential to develop the community’s entrepreneurial spirit while embracing technological innovations.

“The Laborie we want to build involves not only a set of young people looking for jobs in the public service and private sector in call centres, that’s not what we want,” said Hon. Baptiste. “We want to cultivate an entrepreneurial culture in our constituency, where we are going to invent and create things of our own. This is why we have embraced this ICT Centre in a serious and intimate fashion.”

Hon. Stephenson King, Senior Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal, said digital technology has a direct positive impact on lives and livelihoods.

“In an era defined by the unprecedented advancements, the intersection of digital innovation and governance has become the cornerstone of a nation’s progress.,” said Hon. King. “This direction is particularly important for small island developing states as ours, Saint Lucia, where digital and innovation can shape new opportunities and collaborations.”

Hon. Richard Frederick, Minister for Housing and Local Government, recalled Saint Lucia’s long and shared relationship with Twain which has resulted in numerous projects that have bettered the lives of Saint Lucians.

“The Taiwanese have touched us directly and indirectly,” he said. “Almost every Saint Lucian has benefited from the Taiwanese, across the length and breadth of this country.”

He added: “The Taiwanese have executed thousands and thousands of projects across the length and breadth of this country, and you cannot walk for two hours, far less a day, without seeing something that the Taiwanese funded.”

Other officials at the official opening ceremony included H.E. Julian Dubois, Saint Lucia’s Ambassador for Diaspora Affairs, and Dr. Velon John, former Parliamentary Representative for Laborie/Augier.

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