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by R. Andrew Cummings Q.C.. 03.APR.09

Notepad is a brief commentary on matters of public interest and concern. In its abbreviated form, it seeks to arouse public discussion on the subject canvassed in the fervent hope that it will strengthen and enhance our democracy. It is common knowledge that there can be no true democracy without an informed citizenry. We in the Commonwealth Caribbean, save Grenada 1979 – 1983, have had a proud record of democratic governments since attaining independence.{{more}}

Reactions are invited as they can only serve to promote awareness and build knowledge. I regret that the constraint of space makes it necessary to tailor articles to the bare essentials. That constraint, however, is insignificant when compared to the public value and education which it is hoped the article would provide. To boot, freedom of the Press, one of the pillars of democracy, is in no way constrained. This week’s article is –

Our brain drain as it affects wealth creation and development

Just recently, the European Union advised its member countries that there will be a need for them to hire 20 million highly-skilled migrant workers from the Third World within the next twenty (20) years in order to keep apace with North America and the Pacific Basin countries. Unlike earlier waves of emigration, the metropolis now seeks our “highly-skilled workers.” Although I cannot go into the intricacies of this problem, the late William Demas speaks eloquently thereon, “… unless the New Caribbean Man can devise measures to retain the highly-trained and the highly-skilled for work in the Caribbean, then the New Society will never be created. We shall remain outposts of economic empire – forever dependent on the metropolitan countries.”

These times require deliberate focus on matters scientific and technological in order to meet the challenges of globalisation. It is too obvious to need stating that our highly-skilled and highly-trained workers, in the fields of science and technology in particular, are the ones who must take us to the new heights of development and progress. This is how Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and some other countries in the Pacific Basin have become economic giants exporting to us and the rest of the world almost everything we consume. We have lagged behind far too long and the time is now to emerge. Are we going there? It can be and must be done.

The foregoing is not to say that “technology and science must triumph over human values” but a happy combination of both seems to be one of the ways forward to save us from peril. For our own good we must start now to develop a new way of thinking and so start the climb to creating a new society which can take its place proudly and robustly in this world. It is all up to us – are we up to it?

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