(by Nazima Raghubir)
The Caribbean Research and Development Institute should market itself to regional government is what Caricom’s Deputy Secretary General Manorma Soeknandan believes. In an interview, she said that regional institutions are not doing enough to market themselves. For many years CARDI’s technical and research capabilities seem to have been undermined by the lack of funds.
“You have to market yourself as an institution, you have to tell the member states what you are doing, if member states do not know what you are doing, how you are benefiting them, do not expect them to give you their scarce resources.”
CARDI’s Executive Director Dr Arlington Chesney, though not in a direct response to the Deputy Secretary General said that CARDI is doing what it can to promote its work.
“All I would say is that CARDI has a very robust promotional programme, both for the general public and for the ministries …sometimes people need to, and I am not talking about the DSG now but sometimes people need to read. CARDI has developed, until recently it was the hottest hot pepper in the world, it was all over the newspaper in Trinidad and in most other countries but you had some leading decision makers never heard about it.” He pointed out.
Dr Chesney said that it is impractical to submit information on individual basis and explained this is among the reasons CARDI worked closely with the Association of Caribbean Media workers and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation to do training with journalists and get agriculture related stories out to the public. On Friday, Dr Chesney said that CARDI at its Board of Governors meeting on Thursday examined its sustainability. He was asked why they needed to review CARDI’s sustainability, an organisation, an organisation described by many agriculture experts as critical.
“We need this reconfirmation and reaffirmation from time to time, we need it done at the highest level and we need to show the linkages between agriculture, health, education, trade, culture, so we need to bring tourism, we need to bring these things to the attention of the heads from time to time.”
A full report on CARDI was presented to that meeting and would be presented to the Agriculture Ministers at the COTED meeting on Friday.