With Barbados entering its 50th year of Independence, Director of the National Council on Science and Technology, Charles Cyrus, is viewing the promotion of science and technology as vital to the future development of the island, and the involvement of all Barbadians as integral.
This was underscored on Wednesday as Mr. Cyrus addressed the launch of SciTechXpo 2016, at the 3Ws Oval, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
???There must be a prominence of place for the promotion of science and technology within the overall celebrations. Science and technology (S&T) must be seen as part and parcel of our culture. We must embrace science and technology as an instrument for the development of our people and the society at large,??? he stressed.
Speaking to a gathering that included Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harcourt Husbands; and Permanent Secretary, June Chandler, he called on all science students to look around them; observe and ask questions; put forward queries and try to solve them as good scientists do.
While pointing out that areas for the application of scientific and technological knowledge that led to social and or economic improvements were limitless, the Director stated: ???There is the use of our biodiversity (our plants, in particular), promotion of renewable energy, as we are all aware of the high costs of fossil fuel as an energy source, as well as its impact on the environment. There is also agriculture, health and information and communications technologies???.
???Why can???t Barbados produce the next drug that will relieve some of the effects of cancer on the body? Or, as one of our famed Barbadian scientists ??? Dr. Cardinal Warde ??? would say: ???Why can???t the next Google come from the Caribbean???? but I am saying ???Why can???t the next Google come from Barbados???.???
Emphasising that the students??? role in S&T was important to the future, he said the country was looking to them for assistance in addressing some of the socio-economic challenges. And, he called on teachers and lecturers to play their part in inspiring and nurturing students??? natural curiosity.
Meanwhile, Technical Officer at the NCST, Arlene Weekes, while thanking sponsors and potential exhibitors, highlighted the early assistance of Project Discovery, a youth community service learning programme geared towards developing practical skills and capabilities to assist our communities.
She also acknowledged that Barbadians would get to see and learn more about S&T through three mascots ???Mat???, ???Sci??? and ???Tech???, sponsored by the Media Resource Department. The public, she added, would also be afforded the opportunity to view the work of the NSCT???s sister organisation in Trinidad, NIHERST (the National Institute for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation).
NIHERST, according to Ms. Weekes, will showcase their Planetarium Dome, a simulation of ???the night sky??? and ???mini constellations???, and a number of interactive exhibits.
Among the prizes which she said would be awarded, are Best Overall Exhibit, Most Innovative Prize and Most Interactive Prize. SciTechXpo will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre from March 10 to 12 under the theme: Celebrating Science and Technology??? Creating Quality Solutions for Sustainable Living.