How Much the Caribbean Needs to Spend on Science and Technology

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Caribbean governments must devote at least 1 percent of their Gross Domestic Product to science and technology, according to Dr Cardinal Warde of the CARICOM Science Foundation.

Warde said that proportion was necessary for the region to make significant progress in this area.

“I think if we can achieve those, some sooth of a one percent goal over the next five years – some people think it would take ten years, but that’s ok if we work towards that – it would be very significant,” Warde said at the recent High Level CARICOM Science and Technology meeting in St George’s Grenada.

Achieving the once percent goal could bring in a “paradigm shift” for the region, he said.

“Some of the smaller islands and countries in the OECS just have a very hard time even getting to one percent,” he said. “They put some of their energy or some of their money, to starting a new Technology Company that could bring in foreign exchange that could become profitable and could be tax later on, and then the one percent will be a lot easier.”

But more Caribbean governments are beginning to realize the importance of technology, according to Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, who currently holds the science and technology portfolio in CARICOM.

“I think I have been championing this issue for a while now and I think we are getting there, more and more leaders are accepting the absolute responsibility to push this much more than we have done before,” he said. “In all the countries that have done well, such as Singapore and Colombia, one fundamental characteristic of their development and thrust has been in the use of technology.”

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