The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has developed a two-pronged programme for security and safety.
Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves detailed the initiative at a press conference in Kingstown last week, during which he reported on his official visit to Taiwan last month.
Gonsalves said that in Taipei he meet with Taiwan International Co-operation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF) and Systems and Technology Corporation.
He said that part of that programme, an e-bus programme, will focus entirely on minibuses.
“And the e-bus programme, which will commence next year, early 2019, will involve placing a number of bus stops across St. Vincent and a small device on cooperating buses.
“And we will incentivise them to cooperate.”
He said commuters would be able to go to the bus stop and see when their bus is coming.
“So you will be able to know that such and such a bus is 20 minutes away, is on its way here, is on its way there. You will be able to get information from the bus stop itself from a digital display,” Gonsalves said.
The minister said that the persons would be able to access the information via a mobile phone application.
“The positive side for the state is that we will be able to monitor the information. And we know there has been some information about van drivers who drive in a less than safe manner and the devices in their vehicles will allow us to track their speed and various other information about their routes.”
He said the government has had initial conversations with the Omnibus Association to sensitise them to what the government hopes to do.
“And we intend to start with a pilot project early in the year, about 20 or 30 buses, and once we have demonstrated the benefits of that, we hope to expand the usage and ridership of those buses.”
The minister said the Taiwanese company, Systems and Technology Corporation, has indicated that not only would those bus stops be Wi-Fi hotspots, but they can also accommodate CCTV cameras.
He said this led to a conversation about deploying CCTV security cameras around St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“And so, we amended the e-bus programme to include and to frontload the CCTV element to the programme.
“The short of the long is that with the Taiwanese cooperation, we are going to be placing CCTV cameras throughout Kingstown, at all of the bus stops that they erect in the country and in various other high traffic areas in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
He said all of those cameras are networkable and will be viewable form the Central Police Station in Kingstown.
He said there is, obviously, a crime solving and deterrent element there.
“But as I had conversations with the disaster prep people, there is also a disaster prep element there. I mean, if a bridge is washed out but you have a camera across the bridge, you can see what’s going on in that village and you can do things beyond crime fighting, if you have access to these cameras.”
The minister said that he has indicated to the foreign minister of Taiwan that CCTV cameras are being discussed in SVG.
“And he has promised me that he will expedite the CCTV camera element of this wider programme, because it is e-bus and CCTV, but we are going to start with this close circuit television cameras in that regard,” Gonsalves said.