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Chinese Government hands over 28,000 laptops to support the One Laptop Per Family Project – 4th Mar 2013

The symbolic handing over of the laptops between the Minister of Finance, Dr, Ashni Singh, and the Chinese Ambassador. In total, the olpf28,000 laptops are valued at US$8 million, none of which the Guyana Government has to pay back.

The Finance Minister was loud in praise for the Chinese initiative.

Some 27,000 laptops have already been handed over to poor Guyanese families, who cannot afford one of their own; at least that is the aim of the initiative. Some $1.8 billion of tax payers’ money was spent to buy the first set of laptops. But the Government has been arguing that with a budget cut last year, it had to find other means to fund the programme. So the big question now is, if a previous budget catered for all the laptops distributed to date, where has the Government been taking money out of and to fund what over the past year or so?

Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador spent most of his time at today’s ceremony, pleading with the media to show positive aspects of Guyanese-Chinese relations. This is after the Chinese companies have been coming in for criticism of late, with the nastiest scandal being Shanghai Construction Limited, which demanded that it hire an all Chinese workforce to build the Marriott Hotel, a request that the Guyana Government acceded to.

Chinese appliances manufacturer, Haier, had received a US$7.6 million contract to supply the net-books for the first phase of the One Laptop Per Family Project. The project intends to hand out a total of 90,000 laptops.

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