Said he requested gov't laptops to no avail.
Senior Opposition Member and veteran politician, Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) said he requested two government laptops for children in his household; however, is yet to receive word on it.
Hon Fraser was at the time speaking during a Tuesday, May 26, 2020, online meeting, along with Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) and Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2).
Hon Fraser requested two laptops
"In my household, I have two children and I need two laptops, so I asked the Minister about it [and] he told me that they are getting involved in a programme where they would loan laptops to the kids but I haven't seen [and] heard anything about it since," he said.
As the Virgin Islands adapts to digital schooling, hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic, some 500 laptops will be purchased by the Government of the Virgin Islands to assist students and teachers. Additionally, a further 132 laptops will be made available through private donations.
According to Hon Fraser; however, he is yet to receive the laptops he requested, "Now you telling me about 500 laptops that they are getting... you know we need to know more about the 500 laptops, why 500 why not 1000," he said.
Laptops to be loaned
According to Minister for Education Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), monies will be taken from the Consolidated Fund to purchase the laptops for students and teachers in the public education system and that an additional 132 will be donated by Unite BVI and Bitter End Yacht Club.
This initiative was announced as part of Phase 1 of the Economic Stimulus Plan in response to COVID-19.
Dr Wheatley noted; however, that the devices will not be given to persons for keeps, but rather be loaned.
“We will be implementing a loan programme and these devices will remain the property of the Government of the Virgin Islands so that more persons coming into the education system will have access to these devices as persons graduate and go along their educational journey,” he said.
The Programme was created so that persons who cannot afford and are not equipped for digital learning to be able to access the tools they need to transition to digital learning via virtual means, which is now the order of the day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.