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Chang: Use smart city for wealth creation

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 15, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang is emphasising that the role of a smart city should not be relegated to merely planning for local authorities and shore up security mechanism, but to yield economic development from the installation of global interconnectivity.

For instance, he argued that the technology should be a part of the system to provide free Internet access to students with smartphones and the opportunity to surf the World Wide Web for educational research.

“Once you have installed the infrastructure — as we are now doing the fibre optics along the highway in Montego Bay — the wiring for the cameras and so forth, but tie that in with free Internet access so that students can begin to access knowledge, information wherever they are. So, instead of using the smartphone to just being smart, you get it to increase your knowledge,” the security minister stressed.

“Our young individuals have easy access to the worldwide knowledge.This is what we used to speak about primacy of a library; the entire world of library is now available to you.”

Another feature he said would be for the system to allow business operators to reach the global marketplace.

“The craftsmen who have specialised craft can begin to advertise on it (Internet). They will get a response from somebody (say) in Moscow or Beijing, and when they land at the airport they can deliver their craft item and they can collect their money legitimately online and you have business done. And so the smart craftsman will begin to play to the entire world. So the connectivity now provides a foundation on which you can now develop that economy,” Dr Chang stated.

The same concept, he argued, could be applied to young persons in the creative arts sector who could now have free Internet access to push their work globally.

“Music can be a potential major part of our development programme, earning us millions of dollars; but we have to do it right and part of that is just using our technology and developing our urban centres to offer the opportunity and that, in my whole mind, is the concept of a smart city,” the security minister underscored.

He added: “I will use it (smart city mechanism) extensively and effectively in security, but that's just like having effective policing. What we need to do is see that this whole new age allows us to pass the industrial age.”

He was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of The University of the West Indies Western Jamaica Campus (UWI WJC) Sustainable Cities Symposium in Montego Bay on Thursday.

The symposium was held under the theme: 'Information Assurance and the Drive to Smart City status'.

Dr Chang, who is a graduate of The UWI Mona Campus, hailed The UWI WJC for the role it has been playing in the development of the resort city.

“West Jamaica Campus has been playing a very critical role in bringing a certain kind of thinking into Montego Bay, and I want to commend them in terms of creative academic work, as well as thought-provoking activities to ensure that Montego Bay keeps on the cutting edge of development,” he said.

Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis also hailed the tertiary educational institution for its role in the development of Montego Bay.

He used the opportunity to announce that Patrick Prendergast, UWI WJC campus director, has been appointed as co-chair of a recently established advisory committee at the St James Municipal Corporation which is to guide the orderly development of Montego Bay.

The symposium formed a part of the annual WJC Week celebrated the second week of October under the theme, 'Celebrating a Heritage of Excellence', highlighting UWI's tradition of excellence in teaching, research and outreach. This year the week of activities ran from October 7-14.

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