Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Empower our People

Published:Thursday | December 31, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, SIR:

The planned US$350 million highway development scheduled for St. Thomas and Portland brings the Goodyear lands into focus once more. Many talks have been going around as what these lands should be used for. Some of the residents have expressed the need for a facility providing jobs such as agro-processing plants.

I, however, have a different suggestion. I am imploring the government not to just sell the lands for economic benefit.

I am suggesting that the ministries of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Education and also the Ministry of Youth and Culture partner and seek assistance from international donors and build a science, technology engineering and mathematics college/university where we will train our young people in these various disciplines. Not only just a college but also build a research and development (R&D) facility as an incubator for start-ups. With the world going into the areas of technology, renewed energy, alternate energy, etc, we believe that such a college will position Jamaica to fill the gaps in these areas, where we can have an exchange of expertise.

While we are cognisant of the fact that such a facility will not provide immediate jobs for the 'little man' in the parish, we believe this move will eventually propel and enhance the parish of St Thomas' chance of realising high human capital. This will also encourage further investments in housing and improvements in our early childhood, primary and secondary schools.

I will quote the late former prime minister Michael Manley who stated that "any realistic vision of change, must be based on the notion of development of people".

With the training and education of our young people in these non-traditional areas we will see more innovation in entrepreneurship, also in the building of our homes, in agriculture in mining. St. Thomas is known for its aggregate, water resources and preservation.

We call on the government to think long term, to think innovation and sustainable development of our people not just immediate economics.

M. Maurice Clarke

Social Entrepreneur