Past Initiative News

Caribbean Authorities Discuss the Future of Energy

Monday, October 06, 2014
Ministers and high-level authorities on energy in the Caribbean met in Miami on October 6, 2014 to address energy and climate challenges in preparation for a meeting of ministers in 2015 under the umbrella of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).

Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin opened the pre-ministerial discussion stressing how the shift toward sustainable energy is critical. “We cannot escape the fact that renewable energy has very high upfront costs and at the moment many of our countries are facing a very serious debt challenge,” said Ramdin. The OAS official noted that “we have difficulties striking that balance between investing in the future and dealing with our day-to-day problems; this is a major issue for policy makers in the region.”

Honorable Dr. James Fletcher, Minister of Public Services, Information, Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology of Saint Lucia, said “we need to shift to an energy paradigm that is more sustainable.” The Minister spoke about capacity building and strategic partnerships, explaining that “this energy sector is new, and we do not have the same capacity in-house to be able to respond to and deal with the challenges.” “Energy is now the investment frontier,” he added.

Honorable Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines of Jamaica, chaired the open ministerial debate. He was impressed with the wide array of ECPA activities over the past five years. “I wasn’t aware of all areas that ECPA has been involved with. As we look forward to the Ministerial in Mexico, each sub-region has peculiar issues that we want to isolate in this pre-meeting,” said Minister Paulwell, concluding “there is no future for us if the status quo remains.”

Sherry Tross, Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organization of American States, declared that “timing is important; there are so many convergences and processes going on that will be affected by how we look at and how we propose to really handle this issue of energy efficiency and renewable energy, energy security and energy sustainability going forward.” “It really behooves us to take advantage of this moment of convergence to capture the political will that can drive the agenda going forward,” said Secretary Tross.