Dear Ambassador LaRocque,
RE: Science and Technology (S&T) is not just for older Caribbean men.
On January 10, 2014 a CARICOM S&T Committee was launched to promote the development of S&T in CARICOM as a tool for economic development by working closely with all Governments and scientific organizations in the region, and serve as an advisory body to the Prime Minister responsible for S&T in CARICOM, Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada. The members are Mr. James Husbands, Director of Solar Dynamics Limited, Professor Cardinal Warde Caribbean Science Foundation, diaspora representative who is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Professor Harold Ramkissoon, President Emeritus of CARISCIENCE (Chair), Dr. Arnoldo Ventura, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, Deputy Principal of the Mona Campus, UWI, and Mr. Kent Mitchell.
On June 15, 2016, this committee remains the same. It is all male, and none are representative of youth. One would have hoped that they would have recognized this imbalance and done something about it after two years.
In relation to gender, according to CARICOM, the ideal Caribbean person “nourishes in him/herself and in others, the fullest development of each person’s potential without gender stereotyping and embraces differences and similarities between females and males as a source of mutual strength.” In fact, CARICOM’s latest strategic plan advocates a “development agenda that develops measures for a people-centred approach to poverty reduction; develops measures for protection and inclusion to guarantee opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged and takes account of the transformative and multiplier effect of gender equality and empowerment of women on development activity and gains.”
The CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP), strives to improve access to the quality and quantity of opportunities available to adolescents and youth between the ages of 10-29, and in and out-of-school. CARICOM also seeks their full participation as architects and enablers of the Region’s development. Women represent 51% of the Caribbean population and 66% of the Region’s population are youth.
There are Caribbean-wide agencies that can provide excellent and innovative young scientists and engineers and female scientists and engineers to serve on the CARICOM Science & Technology Committee that would better reflect who we are – such as CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network Caribbean Youth Environment Network Caribbean Youth Environment Network – Guyana, and the various Colleges, Technical Institutes, and Universities of the Region 11th Caribbean Institute in Gender and Development- CIGAD Institute for Gender and Development Studies, St. Augustine… Institute for Gender and Development Studies – (RCU) UWI…. Given the lack of gender equality and youth representation on their committee, we write to ensure steps are taken to secure female and youth representation on the committee by December 31, 2016. It is critical that the committee represents CARICOM’s goals and ideals and reflects its diversity.
Ariana Marshall, Engineer, Barbados
Ayanna T. Samuels, Engineer, Jamaica
Chris Samuel Roberts, University Student, Jamaica
Fatima Patel, Scientist, Barbados
Karen A. Wharton, Engineer, New York, Guyana
Kemron ‘Skyhigh’ Dufont, Engineeer, Grenada
Maya Trotz, Engineer, Tampa/Guyana
Trina Halfhide, Scientist/Engineer, Trinidad & Tobago
Teshanna Mohammed, High School Student, Trinidad and Tobago
Wainella Isaacs, Scientist/Engineer, Tampa/Guyana
Thanks to Kaieteur News, Stabroek News & T&T Guardian for publishing this letter. Thanks to Vanda Radzika and Nfn Andaiye for edits.