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In the Foreword to the 1990-95 Jamaica S&T Plan, the then Minister of Finance, Development and Planning, P.J. Patterson said that 'a country without a properly organised S&T system is destined for backwardness.' At the G15 conference in June 2000, as Prime Minister, he 'called for strategies to ensure that technological progress brings truly global benefits, and its potential mobilised to free people from poverty'.

But science and technology have also produced weapons of mass destruction, and they have caused hunger as much as they have have solved it. So we have a challenge. We need to be aware of the double-edged nature of developments in science and technology, both the positive and negative. We need to make science and technology work for us, not against us.

To do that, we must upgrade our own technical skills. We must encourage our children. But we must also develop a better general knowledge and understanding of science and technolgy, and not leave all the important decisions to so-called 'experts'.