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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says the Government will be placing renewed emphasis on science, technology and innovation, including focusing on the development of nutraceuticals from Jamaican plants as a necessary plank for accelerating growth.
  • The Prime Minister was speaking on Wednesday, October 29, as she presided over a meeting of the reconstituted National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) at the Office of the Prime Minister.
  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller outlined that the NCST’s mandate is to enable the people of Jamaica to understand the role of science and technology in their daily lives.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says the Government will be placing renewed emphasis on science, technology and innovation, including focusing on the development of nutraceuticals from Jamaican plants as a necessary plank for accelerating growth and creating new businesses.

The Prime Minister was speaking on Wednesday, October 29, as she presided over a meeting of the reconstituted National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is chair of the NCST with the deputy chair being the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller outlined that the NCST’s mandate is to enable the people of Jamaica to understand the role of science and technology in their daily lives and how the disciplines can be used to provide growth, jobs, wealth and generally, a better quality of life for all. “This must be guided by policies, many of which are already enunciated in a variety of areas: telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, among others,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

She added: “It will be our duty to ensure through monitoring, that compliance with the national policies are adhered to and in everything that is done, we should strive to innovate and create something that can be used to the advantage and benefit of the individual, the community and the wider society.”

In this pursuit, the Prime Minister stated, the body of knowledge encompassed by the Jamaican culture, should not be ignored. This, she encouraged, must be exploited to Jamaica’s advantage. She pointed to examples such as the country’s healing waters and plants, which must be utilised to build a vibrant national neutraceutical Industry with significant spinoffs for scientific investigative laboratories, farmers, distributors, marketers and consumers.

“It is an industry that could take its equal place with sugar, bananas, bauxite and tourism, in driving new innovative enterprises and income generation,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller remarked. The investment in science and technology by several countries, she noted, has provided returns that assisted in bringing them out of impoverishment to be productive, developed societies.

The NCST is expected to advance research, popularise science and technology as well as make recommendations to the Government for policy action in the area. The Commission consists of 28 members drawn from a cross-section of society including representatives of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica; private sector companies; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; Northern Caribbean University; University of Technology; University of the West Indies; Scientific Research Council; Planning Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica Manufacturers Association; Jamaica Chamber of Commerce; National Environment and Planning Agency; JAMPRO; Bureau of Standards Jamaica; and Water Resources Authority.

At Wednesday’s meeting the Commission approved the NCST Secretariat headed by Professor Hon. Errol Morrison; as well as an Executive/Advisory Group chaired by Hon. Robert Levy, Chairman of Jamaica Broilers Group with deputy chair being Mrs. Jacqueline Sharp, President and CEO of Scotiabank Jamaica. A committee of the Council was also approved to work on reviewing the National Science and Technology Policy with a view to developing a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for Jamaica.

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