Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, is calling for increased private sector investment in scientific research and development.
“We are mere consumers of technology; we need to invest.”
“As scientists, we do not complain about our problems, we find solutions,” he added.
Dr. Wheatley was speaking at the ‘Science in the Gardens’ event at the Hope Botanical Gardens in St. Andrew on February 16.
He noted that of the 160 plants that are known to have nutraceutical (health benefits), 50 per cent are endemic to Jamaica.
“We still have not done enough research on any of these plants,” he said, noting that “if Jamaica was able to properly develop and market at least one nutraceutical it would greatly address our economic problems.”
In the meantime, Minister Wheatley said that Government is putting the framework in place and creating the environment to facilitate and retain local scientific talent.
He noted that many scientists, who have excelled over the years have gone unnoticed and unrecognised.
The ‘Science in the Gardens’ event involved collaboration with the Scientific Research Council (SRC) and the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), as part of efforts to popularise science, technology and innovation in Jamaica.
It featured essay, oratory, poster, photography and performing arts competitions, exhibitions, tour of the Chinese Gardens, science and technology demonstrations and a treasure hunt.