The objective of the Conference was to examine the strides made over the last two decades in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), to look at the role played by regional, extra regional and international organizations and at the same time to seek and to identify ways to strengthen cooperation so that STI can more effectively assist with the socio-economic development of our Caribbean people.
Participants who attended this Conference were from both the University of the West Indies – St. Augustine, Trinidad and Mona Campus, Jamaica, The University of the Trinidad and Tobago (U.T.T.), the National Institute of Higher Education, Research Science & Technology (NIHERST) and distinguished delegates from Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, Suriname, the USA.
It was organized by The CARICOM Science, Technology and Innovation Committee (CSTIC), which is a group of science and technology (S&T) experts selected by the Rt. Honorable, Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Prime Minister responsible for S&T in CARICOM from both within the region and the Diaspora, jointly with UNESCO affiliate, CARISCIENCE, The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), and The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) with the support of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) during the period 3-4 May, 2017 at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
At the Opening Ceremony of this Conference, the Right Honorable Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Prime Minister Responsible for Science and Technology in CARICOM delivered the Feature Address. The Honorable Prime Minister noted that “the importance of S&T to development was recognized decades ago. Since then, we have witnessed what can best be described as the exponential march of science, with three major transformative waves of change – Information and Communication Technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology that today are collectively creating the greatest wealth in the history of mankind. We in the Caribbean must not merely take note of this, must not be merely spectators, but attempt to ride these waves of change, and in the process, diversify our sometimes fragile mono-economy, the tourism industry.”
Prime Minister Mitchell added “we are certainly making progress in the development of S&T in the Caribbean, but there are challenges ahead which we must confront. If we ignore evidenced-based science, we do so at our own peril.”
He described the Conference as “most timely” and added that the organization “must strategise, avoid duplication and embrace greater cooperation”. He hopes that this “deliberation would lead to a renewed effort to strengthen our S&T capacity, strengthen our research culture; thereby creating a better Caribbean society”.
The conference continued over two (2) days with engaging conversations and discussions to chart a way forward for STI in the Caribbean and beyond.
We wish to acknowledge with thanks, the support provided by the following organizations which contributed to the success of the Conference:
- The University of The West Indies, St. Augustine
- The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)
- The CARICOM Science, Technology and Innovation Committee (CSTIC)
- National Institute of Higher Education, Research Science & Technology (NIHERST)
- The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
- The University Of The Southern Caribbean (USC)
- Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.