Dr. The hon. Fenton ferguson, minister of health;
Dr. Henry lowe, executive chairman of the bio-tech r & d institute;
Members of the bio-tech r & d institute and the wider eden gardens family;
Ladies and gentlemen…
Let me first of all thank you on behalf of the board and members of the jamaica chamber of commerce, for allowing me this privilege of sharing this evening’s launch with you and bringing greetings and robust congratulations on behalf of the jamaica chamber of commerce and wider private sector.
This event speaks volumes of a commitment for which your organization (led by the apparently tireless dr. Lowe) has not only been long-standing advocates and pioneers, but which has been translated into concrete action.
There have been few voices clearer and more consistent on the urgency for us to develop creative solutions to our economic problems – while asserting that we have at our disposal the brainpower and a treasure trove of cultural knowledge to make this happen.
When, not so many years ago, many of us laypersons first heard the term “nutraceuticals”, it was probably in remarks by dr. Lowe, urging us as a nation, as a region, to put scientific research into the plants and fruit that have been used for generations by our forefathers, so as to determine their efficacy – and to ascertain whether the folkloric claims could be scientifically supported. He insisted, i recall hearing him say, that if we were able to do so, we could have, almost literally in our backyards, the building blocks of a sustainable industry!
Intellectually, that was an intriguing argument, particularly given worldwide trends towards health and wellness products based on natural inputs. What has been particularly refreshing and praiseworthy is that it didn’t end up being some vague call to amorphous action – the type with which we have become all too familiar! Instead, the callerled a team resolved to put its resources where its collective mouth is – making today’s launch but another milestone in a range of tangible initiatives that it has undertaken. I am not exaggerating, i don’t think, when i suggest that it is the advocacy and the application of minds such as are represented in this team, which allow us to glimpse where we have the potential to be as a nation. Our outstanding researchers and applied scientists have given us so many opportunities to create products that can transcend our external profile as yet another developing country too dependent on loans and remittances…
I have long said that jamaica will make a quantum leap if we can solemnise the marriage of entrepreneurship with science and technology!
Jamaican researchers and scientists pioneered work on pineapples, livestock breeds, citrus hybrids, beverages, marijuana derivates… The list goes on and on. Our universities and such institutions like the scientific research council have developed products that cry out for commercialization. In the creative industries, the innovations of that ever fertile jamaican imagination have for decades influenced and transformed lives and lifestyles well beyond our borders to an extent that not even the pioneers could dare have dreamt. Yet, there is a deficit! In my opinion, one critical missing link in too many cases (though there are exceptions) has been our inability to appropriately capitalize on these innovations, to move from the experimental and research phase to the development of products, enterprises and industries that enable us as a nation to derive the greatest possible value-added benefits from what god has so generously given us.
I place today’s product launch in this context. It is a beacon, a tweleve pronged light guiding towards concrete action. Not only has this bio-tech team put in the research and conducted the tests, but it has done so in the context of the reality of the marketplace – giving the market what it is looking for – a range of products that dovetail into the absolutely exploding health and wellness lifestyles worldwide!
So whether it be sports nutrition, given the powerhouse that the region (especially jamaica) has become internationally; health tourism, given our strong brand there too, it seems to me that this team is being very deliberate about its strategizing… And very importantly, it is putting this together under a potentially world-class brand – eden gardens. I know it is early days yet, but i for one look forward to seeing this become a brand available and demanded worldwide and which evokes to consumers everywhere, the best of jamaica, the best of jamaicans. The best of brand jamaica.
Ladies and gentlemen, what is our brand? Is it just sports? Is it just music? Is it just sand, sea and sun? Yes it is, but it is also so much more!! Our brand also has proven intellect, innovation amd imagination!
I commend to other jamaican scientists, innovators and dreamers the bio-tech r & d institute example. I hold you up as an example of moving from idea to the practical commercialisation. I pray our god will make your action as contagious and infectious as some of the diseases your products will combat. On behalf of the jcc, my sincere congratulations once again.