Science & Technology – Central To Economic Development – Dr. Mitchell

Grenadian Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has said that global changes had demonstrated that science and technology and innovation had become central to improving the economic performance of the region as well as the social well being of its people.
Dr. Mitchell was delivering the keynote address at the University of the West Indies’ ‘Research Day’ activities at the Mona campus in Kingston this morning under the theme “Science Technology and Innovation.”
He called for greater networking and strategic alliances between Caribbean Governments and the University of the West Indies and emphasized the importance of putting in place the necessary policies and infrastructure to be able to cope in the global environment. He pointed also to the need for governments to ensure that its citizens were able to utilize such policies and infrastructures for their personal advancement.
Dr. Mitchell who has responsibility for Science and Technology in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said: “There is a need in the region to modify our approach to science and technology and the UWI should take the lead. I see a greater role for the UWI, our national colleges and other tertiary institutions in our region to take more responsibility in educating our people in this regard.” He stressed that this must be done in collaboration with governments, the private sector and other social groups.
Continuing, he declared that the UWI was to take advantage of its position and “take the lead in creating a University without walls to ensure a deeper understanding of the impact of science and technology on daily lives.”
In addition, Dr. Mitchell said Governments should also become the facilitators in allowing businesses and consumers to adapt to the opportunities of the global community. This, he noted, was necessary despite the ” remarkable economic achievement of many countries in the region,” as “enormous challenges remain for governments in the development of science and technology and the fostering of innovation.”
He pointed out that it was now necessary to move beyond the historical socio-economic evaluations rooted in the past whereby the region’s economic stability relied heavily on agricultural production and the advantages from preferential trade arrangements linked to its colonial past. Today, he stressed, industries relied on science, technology and innovation, and as such further advances must be made in the areas of scientific research if the region was to secure a place in an age driven by technology.
Previously, Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson had voiced similar sentiments, while delivering greetings. She pointed out that the Jamaican Government had always been mindful of the strategic importance of Science and Technology and the attendant Research and Development. This, she noted, was evident in the creation of the National Commission on Science and Technology, which promoted research excellence through public and private partnerships as well as enhanced the country’s competitiveness through scientific and technological innovation.
She noted that it was through the full utilization of human and material resources that wealth was created and as such students should be engaged in the process.
Research Day is intended to acquaint students and stakeholders with the advances that the University has made in scientific research over the last year.
Persons will be exposed to a variety of research issues and be able to observe a range of laboratory experiments and demonstrations that incorporate chemical reactions and lasers during tours of the Campus. The activities will end on Friday (Jan. 30).

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