Remove Cultural Barriers to S&T – Paulwell


Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, has emphasized that there was an urgent need to demystify Science and Technology and include it in the cultural mainstream so that every Jamaican could become familiar with scientific and technological advancements.
He was speaking at the proclamation ceremony for November as National Science and Technology month, at King’s House on Thursday (Oct. 30). “To be globally competitive, Jamaica needs a solid base of highly skilled professionals in science, engineering and technology,” Mr. Paulwell said, adding that, “one of the first steps in building this base is to remove all the cultural barriers that still block the majority of our people from taking part in science, engineering and technology”.
He said that young Jamaicans needed to become excited by science and know that there were employment prospects and career opportunities.
It was to this end, he pointed out, that a Ministry with full responsibility science and technology was created and Prime Minister Patterson established the National Commission on Science and Technology 10 years ago.
Turning to technology in agriculture, the focus of this year’s Science and Technology month, Mr. Paulwell mentioned the work of the Scientific Research Council in developing technology for extracting and preserving the flavours of indigenous foods. Walkerswood Caribbean Foods recently bought the SRC’s sorrel preservation technology.
He also commended the Jamaica Agro-Processors Association, which recently acquired four traditional Jamaican pea soup formulations from the SRC, which was expected to bring significant economic returns. Mr. Paulwell said such transfers reflected government’s mandate to develop technologies that could be commercialised to create business opportunities and employment for Jamaicans.
He highlighted the fact that the SRC had also developed many value added products such as flour from yam and breadfruit; potato, breadfruit and plantain chips, in addition to condiments, preservatives, liqueurs, jams and jellies.
“The challenge is to improve our performance in these and other areas.many of our businesses still do not perceive science and technology as being relevant to them and this can be a real constraint in a rapidly changing world,” the Minister remarked. He said that “government, businesses, schools and universities, all of us, must work together to create the best possible conditions for the further development of science and technology in Jamaica”, noting that the annual observation of National Science and Technology month provided an excellent opportunity to do so.
The SRC will be spearheading the celebrations under the theme, ‘Science and Technology for Economic Development: Technology Driven Agriculture and Agro-Processing’.
The month of activities provide an opportunity for showcasing what is happening in the local science and technology sector including highlighting linkages with other sectors such as music, sports, environment and culture.
Activities to be staged island-wide include a church service, the annual national conference and exposition on science and technology, the inventors/innovators exposition, lectures/ public fora, open days and live radio broadcasts and web-casts.

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