???Local knowledge is important but the development of the country cannot be left to local knowledge alone.???

This view was expressed today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harcourt Husbands, while addressing the launch of SciTechXpo 2016 at the 3Ws Oval, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

???As a matter of fact, proper scientific inquiry, which we are promoting here this morning and through the activities that we participate in, may begin with local knowledge but that is just the beginning, ??? Senator Husbands stated.

Referring to a statement by one member of the public that the dredging of the Constitution River was responsible for low levels of water in the acquifers in Barbados, the Parliamentary Secretary lamented that that passes as local knowledge on call-in programmes and caused persons to ignore engineers at the Barbados Water Authority.

He said: ???The engineers at the Barbados Water Authority are not the be all and end all of everything but certainly we know that development of this country as is the development of all countries pays a lot [of attention] to proper scientific inquiry.???

While commending the National Council on Science and Technology (NCST) on the exhibition set to bring together students with an interest in science, engineering and mathematics, the public and private sector science, as well as individuals, he said the focus of the March 10 to 12 exhibition was more relevant today in light of such statements.

Senator Husbands explained that the main focus of SciTechXpo 2016 was on providing an opportunity, especially for students from nursery to tertiary level, to express their creativity and innovation through the application of scientific and technological knowledge and problem solving.

He stressed: ???I am of the view that this original focus is even more relevant today as I said, in relation to this creeping anti-intellectual element that encourages us to ignore science and depend almost exclusively on local knowledge, which is rubbish sometimes, passing as knowledge.???

Moreover, he noted that globally it had been recognised by several international development agencies, including the World Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and the Organisation of American States, that a nation???s ability to solve problems and foster development depended partly on its capacity in science, technology and innovation.

The launch of Sci-TechXpo 2016, by the NCST, he added, coincided with a period in our development where we are faced with a number of challenges, such as climate change and its associated consequences ??? issues related to drought and water; the need for increased economically viable renewable energy solutions; and food security.

???There is now an urgent need to address these challenges, which can threaten Barbados??? growth and development. The application of science, technology and innovation can be used to address some of these challenges by becoming an instrument of development,??? he stressed.


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