Gov't undertakes feasibility study for establishment of technology park

Saturday, July 08, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Biojam Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Global Inc to undertake a feasibility study for the creation of a science and technology park in Jamaica.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Andrew Wheatley, said the study will determine Jamaica’s readiness for the park, which will facilitate research and development into new products for the local and export markets.

Wheatley was addressing the signing ceremony held on Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

He said the agreement with BIRD will establish a partnership in innovation that will support the Government’s thrust to fuel growth and job creation.

“It will place Jamaica on the path to fulfilling the Vision 2030 goal to build a science, technology and innovation culture, empowering Jamaicans to excel in an evolving world,” he added.
Wheatley noted that research and development are critical pillars of a progressive and prosperous society, lamenting that less than one per cent of the country’s earnings is spent in this area.

He said the initiative will fast-track Jamaica’s ability to make policy decisions based on scientific research, and also guide the Government in taking the strategic steps to reap the benefits of its scientific technological capacities.

The minister said the establishment of the park will encourage more of the country’s scientists and researchers to stay in Jamaica.

Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Professor Errol Morrison, informed that the study, which will begin within a month, will look at “whether there are enough resources, institutions and people here to develop the park.”

He said the objective is to allow for “the development of new thinking and new ideas, which will create jobs and wealth.”

Morrison said the establishment of the park will encourage investors to come to Jamaica.
Chief Executive Officer of BIRD, Christian Strachan, said that the study will look into the country’s capacity to produce innovative products for export and also service the local market.
He said some of the items could include furniture and other products made from natural material such as hemp.

He said nutraceuticals will also be examined with Jamaica being among the top five countries in the world for endemism, having a large number of unique plants.
Strachan noted that upon the establishment of the park, minority-owned businesses in the United States will be looking to become trade partners with Jamaica.

BIRD comprises scientists, engineers, businessmen, and technologists based in Chicago Illinois, most of whom are of Jamaican heritage, who are looking to contribute to nation building in the area of research and development.


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