The euphoria of the Olympics has for the first time in many years opened the eyes of Jamaicans on how it feels to be collective winners. The nationalistic fervor has been captivating as the whole world “catch a fire” with the superb performance of Jamaican athletes.
Many international news organizations attributed the excellence to the country keeping its athletes at home, an important point since Jamaicans have continually performed well in these arenas on previous occasions, wrapped in the flags of other nations. The same may be said of other sectors. Jamaica continues to lose its best and brightest future professionals at an alarming rate because of the high crime rate, archaic political governance and the resulting minimal economic opportunities.
In an on-line discussion, someone asked the question, “What strategies will the government put in place to develop world class medical doctors, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, electronic engineers, aeronautical engineers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, etc?” The answer is that like the recent past with our athletes, we do have many of these professionals, the majority of whom are blazing trails overseas.
I don’t agree with the premise that government should farm thoroughbred professionals. However, there can be significant benefits in public – private business arrangements in such areas as scientific, agricultural, medical and technological research. These business entities operating outside the bureaucracy could enter into cooperative agreements, cost reimbursement with fees or incentives based on results.
A major element of any such undertaking must be to create exposure for young students in a professional research environment. To match the national high school athletic championships, there should be competitions in business solutions, science and technology as well. These initiatives would over time create a domestic industry that provides the opportunities to slow the exodus of our brightest.
The private sector must realize that by assisting in financing these types of early relationships, they are investing in their own business future, a source of innovation, while helping to improve the general welfare of the country.
It is a national imperative to modify and reinforce public policies towards achieving and maintaining a successful economic cooperation model between government and industry. The athletes were systematically trained to win, now can that winning attitude be taken into the classroom and the boardrooms?
That is the most important tribute we could ever bestow on our Olympians. They have accomplished their assigned mission; it is now duty of the rest of the society to do its duty to overcome the many difficult challenges.