Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Andrew Gittens. (FP)

A communications campaign for the Barbados National Energy Policy 2019-2030 was launched today by the Ministry of Energy with Permanent Secretary, Andrew Gittens reminding Barbadians that Government remains committed to promoting sustainable energy practices to reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, enhance security and stability in energy supply, improve island competitiveness and achieve environmental sustainability.

Speaking at Trinity Business Complex, Country Road, on behalf of Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, Mr. Gittens stressed Government was “very concerned about energy security, environmental sustainability, and the significant impact on the foreign reserves from the importation of fossil fuels”.

Pointing out that this commitment was reflected in the Energy Policy, he said a key component to the achievement of government’s objective of 100% energy from renewable sources was the promotion of sustainable energy practices.

He also noted that Government recognised the need for greater institutional capability and capacity within organisations involved in Barbados’ energy sector.

He further stressed that these efforts therefore included intense public education to highlight the importance of sustainable energy as a call to action for every Barbadian to play their part “if we are to realize the vision of becoming the first green 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral island state by 2030”.

While acknowledging the continued collaboration with international partners to develop initiatives aimed at reducing the country’s dependency on fossil fuels, Mr. Gittens spoke of the partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union to implement the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme.

He said this seeks to promote sustainable energy technologies within the public sector, build Government’s capacity and implement public education programmes aimed at heightening the public’s consciousness about their energy choices. 

Explaining further, the Permanent Secretary said: “To date, a capacity building and institutional strengthening strategy has been developed in the context of Barbados’ National Energy Policy, and extensive training will be implemented during 2021 to address gaps identified as part of the diagnostic assessment of stakeholder agency in the energy sector.  

“Additionally, in our efforts to ensure sustainability, the programme also seeks to develop educational and professional strengthening initiatives for the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, and other key stakeholders in sustainable energy matters.”

Today’s launch saw three persons who participated in the Ministry’s online energy survey receiving their prizes and Mr. Gittens noted the launch was a deliberate step in driving home the message that all must commit to employing sustainable energy and conservation methods to reduce the overall cost of energy and to ensure a greener and better Barbados.

“Our target audience will be those key agents of change in our community – primarily energy consumers, but the Ministry understands that it must extend its reach to the key agents – our children, – our youth: the future energy consumers,” stressed Mr. Gittens, as he added the core of the strategy was to ensure every Barbadian understood why the switch to more sustainable energy practices was important to them individually as well as for the entire country.

Winner of the online energy survey was Dario Phillips while second place went to Doriel Skinner and third to Kristen Boyce.

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