An internet photo of a planetarium.

By Denroy McTair

As St. Vincent and the Grenadines journeys on the path towards development, a substantial amount of attention should be focused on the progression of STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) and the important role it can play in the economic and social advancement of our society. 

From an economic standpoint, the country is already at a disadvantage, possessing only a few natural resources that are exploited within the fisheries and agriculture sector. Therefore, this lack of natural resources should instinctively lead to a reliance on forward thinking in order to propel economic amelioration.

We should, therefore, encourage a culture where ideas can be investigated, hypothesis tested, and where theories can be home grown. One way this can be done is through the creation of a scientific research centre that would translate to an investment in innovation and research with focus on the appropriate technologies that can be tailored to our local circumstances. This would be the ideal action to boost our educational, agricultural and industrial systems where we can yield a potential return on investment through patents and discoveries.

For generations, we have practiced the culture of the use of bush and root medicine, an area where further research can be done to capitalise on the development of patents. The investigation and creation of certain materials that can withstands disasters that could be incorporated in our building code, big data collection and investigation, pathogenic research for E.coli and other bacteria on beaches, especially where hotels are located and waste from industries are discharged.

These are just a few opportunities that we can embark on with the establishment of our own scientific research centre.

A planetarium can be viewed as a complement to the scientific research centre where it serves the purpose of educating the nation on astronomy whilst shaping the minds of aspiring astronomers and astrophysicist in our country and region. Yearly camps and conventions can be held to foster a transitional approach towards the scientific field in academics by exposing students to a hands-on and visual experience. Individuals would have an in-depth understanding of how space exploration has shaped the world we live in today, the way it has influenced the devices we use, the things we eat, laws and regulations we abide by, among other things.

Why Campden Park? As the former location of the Campden Park Experimental Station (CPES) and current home to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Headquarters and Soil Laboratories, this community would be a perfect place to establish a scientific research centre and planetarium, which would benefit the academic, social and economic development within the area. The community of Campden Park is known as the “industrial” area in our country as it is home to most of the factories hence, this marriage between institution and industry would create the perfect environment for innovation and sustainable development and practices.

Since science is seen as a universal instrument of growth, developing countries such as ours can make a significant contribution to the scientific world by resolving problems at a lower cost and with fewer resources. We can reduce brain drain by providing opportunities for persons academically inclined in the STEM field and nurture those who have an interest in it. An investment in this field can position our country as a leader in scientific research within the region and catapult our development.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

10 replies on “A scientific research centre and planetarium at Campden Park”

    1. You are right Rudy, imagine leaving such an attraction at night when it is dark, who would do that a Camden Park?

  1. Interesting thought , but why so hell bent on Campden Park as a corral for scientific academics?
    Since Covid19, cinemas are closed, so maybe a planetarium is a good alternative use case of the space, after all, there’s ample room for social distancing out there :).

  2. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to focus our scientific research endeavours on our marine environment and ethnobotanical/ pharmaceutical possibilities than astrophysics?

  3. Like the forward thinking of this article. With like minds getting in on this idea a great final product can be develop, that would benefit the country on a whole and propel us on a bigger platform as it relates to global development.

  4. Nationalist says:

    Nice presentation, McTair. These perspectives are what SVG needs more regularly. It has to do with our mindset. How many churches SVG has? No arts and science academies. The church role should be multifunctional: Bible studies, arts and sciences. Rapid national transformation will take place overnight.

    Arts are vital for national development especially in small a small society as SVG. Most of the scientific knowledge student acquire are never applied in communities. Students need to be equipped to create, build, and repair. Practical approach. The asthenic manipulation of the surrounding should be established national ideal.

    Instead of focusing on exploring the Galaxy, exploring the vast body of water surrounding SVG should be a major national goal. That endeavor should be like our preparing to land on the moon. It’s possible. Start by compiling the array of knowledge from fishermen who made the sea their workplace for decades. Then other approaches can be employed.

  5. R&D labs in SVG could provide essential STEM-Related work for the nation’s science graduates. Furthermore as Ivan O’Neal has been preaching for decades, land at Arnos Vale should be considered for a Science and Technology University. Perhaps the PM could convince the Cubans to help in such an initiative.

    May God continue to bless Hairouna and protect our people from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Vinci Vin

  6. VV you may fool yourself but you cannot fool the people. The Cubans pay for nothing, they will supply worker but we always have to pay. It takes them on average 3-5 times as long to complete a project than it would a proper contractor. SVG do not put penalty clauses on the Cubans so the extra time taken means we continue paying the Cuban government year after year even after over-run. It more than doubles the cost of the project.

    Remember the airport was a three year project it took the Cubans nine years to complete. The new specialist medical facility at Georgetown was a two year project which took them almost ten to complete.

    We supply all the plant, machinery and engineering equipment, they wreck it, remember the machinery graveyard at the airport.

    They are dreadful people who would never get employed except by the Cuban state. Employed for a handful of dollars a month, with the Cuban government keeping 80% of the money SVG pay for them. Hence the current allegations of SVG and Cuba people trafficking, which may a correct analysis by the Americans.

    Can any Vincentian imagine working on a cruise ship, when the SVG government get 80% of their wages and they get peanuts.

    Employing people under those terms is little more than a crime against humanity.

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