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The first of a two-day virtual public consultation on the National Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Green Paper was held on Thursday (June 25).

The consultation, hosted by the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), sought to engage citizens on questions surrounding national development within the field of science, technology and innovation.

This seeks to advance Jamaica’s economic, social and environmental agenda by ensuring that ST&I are integrated into public policy procedures, and is in keeping with the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, which envisions a technology-enabled, knowledge-based society.

Several goals of the policy are: to establish a dynamic and responsive system of innovation, foster a culture of innovation; enhance the national development agenda using ST&I, promote research and development capabilities, and create an enabling ST&I policy environment for national development.

Senior Technology Officer, NCST, Patricia Lewin, said the policy goals aim to increase innovation and “our knowledge products to enhance our science and technology capabilities”.

“It also seeks to enhance our infrastructure and human capacity for research and development, and that will contribute to achieving a technology-enabled society,” she added.

Representative from the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Chenielle Delahaye, said the public consultations will serve to inform amendments to the draft ST&I policy.

“Our immediate next steps, following this consultation, will be to include any amendments from our draft ST&I policy, based on the feedback that we have got from the public and other consultative process and our key stakeholders,” she explained.

“The ST&I final document will then be submitted to Cabinet for… approval as a White Paper before it is tabled in the Houses of Parliament. Ultimately, the ST& I policy, using the implementation plan, will ensure Jamaicans in all sectors can benefit,” Dr. Delahaye added.

She said science, technology and innovation are critical to the achievement of Vision 2030 and commended all stakeholders for their contributions to the development of the policy.

“The level of participation, commitment and involvement demonstrates the significance of science, energy and technology in Jamaica.

Our objective was to ensure that we harnessed the public’s opinion on Jamaica’s science, technology and innovation policy to ensure it fulfils the needs of Jamaicans. Consultations will ensure that the ST&I policy is inclusive and designed to leave no one behind,” she argued.

Stakeholders that participated in the session included the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), among others.

The next virtual consultation is slated for June 30.

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