JIS News

Dr. Arnoldo Ventura, special advisor to the Prime Minister on Science and Technology, has said that the National Policy on Biotechnology should be ready by year-end, and should be promulgated through the legislative system by mid 2008.
The draft document entitled: ‘Biotechnology for Socio-Economic Development: A Policy for Jamaica’, is now being discussed in public consultations across the island.
Dr. Ventura, who spoke to JIS News at a consultation held at the Western Region Office of the Prime Minister on Delisser Drive, Montego Bay yesterday (Sept. 12), informed that public meetings have already been held in Kingston, Portland, and Mandeville, and more would be held in other parishes in the coming months.
He noted that the consultations held to date have been successful, with a wide cross section of the society participating.
“Once [the public] begins to understand what we are about, that this is about our future, they become very interested and animated,” he pointed out.
According to Dr. Ventura, the implementation of a biodiversity policy was important for the country’s development.
“The future for Jamaica lies in our ability to use knowledge, nothing else, because we don’t have large land space.we are bright people and we must use the world knowledge base .to be more productive in food, in industry, and we must protect our environment”, he stated.
He said that while Jamaica was behind a lot of countries in the development and implementation of biotechnology, “I have no doubt that we can catch up because we are a bright people.”
Dr. Ventura, who chairs the steering committee of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), that is developing the biotechnology policy, added that he was “looking forward to the day when the average Jamaican could understand fully what biotechnology means, and how it affects his own life and livelihood”.
According to the draft document, developments in biotechnology in Jamaica are essential to agro-industrial development, human and environmental health, bio-safety, biodiversity, and the protection of natural resources.
It further states that despite gains within the field in several of the island’s research and teaching institutions, the vast potential afforded by biotechnology for national social and economic development remained largely untapped.

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