Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2013 Contents BG24 REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK FIVE
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BrightPath Foundation, a youth-focused non-profit
based in T&T, is spearheading a mobile app devel-
opment education initiative for the Commonwealth
The Dominica State College (DSC), the Dominica
National Internet Exchange Point (Danix) and Bright-
Path Foundation have agreed to formally collaborate
on the initiative, intended to stimulate technological
innovation among Dominica's youth.
The programme will provide training and hands-
on experience in mobile app development, graphics
and user-interface design, content development and
"We view this as an excellent initiative for students
to understand and take advantage of the opportunities
within the mobile technology market," said Dr Donald
Peters, president of the Dominica State College, the
country's only public higher education institution.
Craig Nesty, a director at Danix said, "This is a
small but necessary step to allow our citizens, espe-
cially our youth, to fully participate in the Internet
As a founding member of Danix, the National
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC)
will co-ordinate the initiative with the aim of further
developing the Dominican telecommunications sector.
BrightPath's executive director, Bevil Wooding,
applauded Danix and DSC for their initiative.
"Building sustainable models for technology-driven
development is a major priority for BrightPath. We
believe that Dominica's approach to mobile app train-
ing has wider application for the entire region. We
look forward to bringing our programmes to Dominica,
and particularly to embedding them within the Col-
lege's technology curriculum," Wooding said.
The programme starts with a one-week introductory
workshop to mobile application development, to be
followed by a full semester course at the Dominica
State College, and culminating with the development
and release of mobile applications that address local
challenges and that target the local, regional and
Since 2011, BrightPath's technology training pro-
grams have reached over 500 individuals across the
Caribbean. BrightPath currently facilitates technology
training to Caribbean youth through hands-on work-
shops and seminars in digital content creation, online
broadcasting and multimedia design. BrightPath also
conducts iCAN Mobile, the Caribbean's only ded-
icated, ongoing mobile app development initiative.
It is a sight the people of Mejico
thought they would never see
again: sugarcane pouring onto a
conveyer belt, beneath chimneys
pouring smoke into a bright blue
Silent for seven years, the town's
sugar mill has been given a new
lease of life.
Sugar was Cuba's biggest export
until the 1990s, providing half a
When the Soviet market disap-
peared and the world sugar price
sank, almost two-thirds of the
island's mills had to close.
At those that remained, pro-
duction plummeted. Weeds over-
ran the canefields, and abandoned
sugar plants---once the heart of
many communities---fell into ruin.
But Mejico is one of more than
a dozen mills gradually being sal-
vaged as Cuba looks to capitalise
on a recent rise in sugar prices and
improved yields in its canefields.
"When they said the mill would
stop working, it was a tough blow,"
says Ariel Diaz, who used to work
as an engineer at the old mill before
it shut down in 2006.
"It really traumatised us," he
says of its closure, which happened
There had been a mill in Mejico
since 1832. The original stone slave
barracks are still standing - con-
verted into workers' housing.
"We were nothing without the
mill. It was our life," Diaz says,
now happy to be back in the noisy,
steamy sheds shouting orders to
his team as huge metal cogs turn
The re-opening has created
some 400 new jobs in the mill
itself. Sixteen farmers' co-opera-
tives are supplying it with cane.
Across Cuba, as mills closed,
many people were redeployed to
collective farms; others were paid
to study and re-qualify.
"Clearly, people were affected,
especially psychologically," a
spokesman for state sugar com-
pany Azcuba, Liobel Perez, accepts.
"The mills represent years, cen-
turies, of tradition so it was very
hard. But steps were taken to help."
Just a short drive from Mejico,
the chimneys of the Sergio Gon-
zalez mill are still cold some 15
years after the last sugar rolled off
the conveyer belts.
Weeds poke out of holes in the
concrete. The old sheds have been
partially dismantled and are rust-
Sales in such a poor town are
slow and Espinosa echoes many
who say the mill closure brought
"When the mill was open. there
was always transport for the work-
ers and everyone used it. Now
there's just two buses a day," he
"It's the same with the water.
When the mill was grinding, it
needed water and we were never
short. Now we have problems."
The locals talk of how new busi-
nesses, like a spaghetti factory,
were brought to other former sugar
In Sergio Gonzalez, the luckiest
now hitch a ride 80 kilometres
north for jobs in the tourist resort
By contrast, there is a fresh buzz
of activity in Mejico.
In the nearby fields, workers
have been rushing to cut the cane
before the weather turns. A shiny
new Brazilian harvester charges
forward, swallowing up the cane
as it goes.
A Brazilian harvester at work in
Cuba's sugar cane fields in May
2013 Cuba has invested in some
new equipment to kickstart its
revamped sugar business
It is one of four machines Cuba
invested in for the mill re-opening,
far more efficient than the ageing,
There have been teething trou-
bles with the reopening.
New machine parts arrived late,
the workforce is young and inex-
perienced, and production is below
target. Senior staff have slept little,
under pressure to perform.
But the whole community is
willing this to succeed. Some pen-
sioners are helping out at the mill
for free, passing their expertise to
a new, young generation.
Now Mejico is shuddering back
Cuba's sugar mills
get new lease of life
Dominica to pioneer mobile
education initiative for youth
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