LETTER OF THE DAY - Lazy private sector must get cracking on R&D

Published: Tuesday | January 22, 2013 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Last week, with the announcement about a Japanese company claiming it is able to extract rare-earth elements from our bauxite tailings, and your subsequent editorial on this, I felt I had to follow up on it.

Your subsequent editorial touched on the weak support for research and development (R&D) by the Government of Jamaica and how little of it is seemingly being done by our universities. Clearly, we need for learning institutions such as the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology to start becoming more research-oriented and not just academic institutions to send one's kid(s) to after they graduate from high school.

I can't help but notice that very little also seems to be done by the private sector in Jamaica. The Private Sector of Jamaica and other business organisations seem quick to criticise the Government and talk about the taxes their members have to pay the State, and the problems of red tape. Those are legitimate issues.

However, where is the (meaningful) R&D being done by private-sector entities to improve the quality of life in Jamaica? How do the members of any of these business entities and their bosses see themselves as supposed captains of industry/commerce when neither they nor their companies can come up with a better product, service or a better way to deliver/provide either to Jamaicans?

I was on an Internet radio talk show run by a prominent Jamaican forum on Facebook and this was something the hosts touched on. This is not to lessen the demand of the Government to do a better job of supporting R&D, but the private sector does not get any kind of a pass on this either.

After all, this is not just about improving Jamaica's quality of life, but it's also about helping out with national security and improving the overall economy. I'd like to think I'm not the only one who sees this.

TREVOR DAWES

tmdaes@charter.net

Georgia, USA

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