JIS News

Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, has said that Jamaica was poised to be part of the new thrust for greater unity in the global science and technology community.
“We are prepared to provide to the region what we have done in terms of our experiences. We pledge our full support and co-operation in this drive to have a more united regional approach to science and technology,” he said.
The Minister was addressing the launch of the 20th annual National Conference of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), at the Hilton Hotel yesterday (November 20).
Mr. Paulwell informed that during the two-day conference, “we will be focusing on a lot of the achievements of the country and the SRC in particular”. “In that regard, I note some of the discussions we are going to have on biotechnology, the tremendous developments that we’ve experienced in the issue of waste water and the waste energy project that the SRC has been doing,” he added.
In the meantime, Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Audia Barnett, outlined that the Council, since1987, has used an inclusive approach that has welcomed researchers and innovators to contribute the findings of their research to the wider public through the National SRC Conference.
“We have presented 640 papers by 970 presenters. In terms of percentages, we had the largest chunk coming from the Universities, but we also have a lot of it coming from the private and public sectors,” she informed.
The Executive Director acknowledged the input of agencies, such as the Jamaica Society for Agricultural Sciences, Jamaica Society of Scientists and Technologists, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and some 78 private sector entities, which had provided sponsorship over the 20-year period.
According to Dr. Andre Gordon, Board Member of the SRC, the Council “has always brought to the fore the ways in which science and technology, scientific investigation and knowledge can improve the quality of life of Jamaicans and the people of the Caribbean”.
Dr. Gordon highlighted that despite longstanding cohesion between countries of the region, with regard to science, there was a new drive at the SRC to engage in a more regional approach to science and technology, especially since the Caribbean Single Market (CSM) heralded increased opportunities for regional scientists.
“As the SRC hosts the 20th National Conference on Science and Technology, it is timely for us to regionalize this conference. Our theme this year is very appropriate, Science and Technology for Economic Development impacting the CSM,” Dr. Gordon said. He added that the stage was set for a rich cross-fertilization of ideas as well as meaningful collaboration that would ensure that the region was not left behind in the fast-paced scientific tide. He said the region, through combined efforts, would be “positioned to leapfrog into the future”.
“The scientific community throughout the Caribbean has been collaborating for many years, mainly through the instrumentality of the University of the West Indies, but also through other regional institutions. With the advent of the CSM, there are additional opportunities, not only for academic scholarship, but also for economic and social transformation of the region,” he said.
Dr. Gordon noted that recent discussions among Caribbean scientists had culminated in the Tobago Declaration, which he said was, “an action oriented commitment to utilize science, technology and innovation towards common goals for the betterment of CARICOM”.