Sat | Apr 29, 2017

Letter of the Day: UWI dropped ball on water crisis research

Published:Wednesday | July 8, 2015 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is my belief that my alma mater, the University of the West Indies (Mona), has not done enough to provide national policy solutions that could have mitigated the impact of the current drought crisis in Jamaica.

If one takes a glance at the Faculty of Social Sciences' main web page, its primary departmental offerings include business

management, tourism, psychology, social work, government and economics.

With regard to this current water shortage, like a distracted slip fielder, UWI has dropped the ball. There is a variety of technical and policy solutions that, over the years, should have offset some of the deleterious effects currently being experienced.

I am not suggesting that it is the sole remit of UWI and the Department of Economics to solve the current crisis. But UWI, through its Economics Department, should have taught courses and generated scholarly research, thereby producing national policy solutions and skilled professionals that may have led to reducing the impact of the current drought and water shortage.

In my opinion, UWI has not paid serious attention to disciplines such as water-resource economics, agricultural resource economics, environmental economics, and natural-resource economics (renewable and non-renewable), among others. If they have, they need to vastly improve advertising the results of relevant research.

Every crisis presents an opportunity, and although some may say it is too late, I would like to suggest to the social sciences faculty and students, get up from behind your desks, walk across the Ring Road, and go talk to your colleagues in the Faculty of Science and Technology, as well as the law faculty.

While you are at it, you could also pick up the phone and contact your sister campus in Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps starting with the faculties of engineering and agriculture. Solving real-world problems requires interdisciplinary approaches.

The continued societal relevance of UWI is linked to the ability to provide useful information well in advance of crises. My beloved UWI needs to wake up! If not, the other Jamaica-based tertiary institutions will take up the slack while you sleep.

PETER E.T. EDWARDS

Marine Scientist