Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds listening attentively to a point being made by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Francine Blackman (third from right) while from left Permanent Secretary Special Assignments Andrew Gittens, Project Manager in the Ministry, Keisha Reid , IDB’s Country Representative in Barbados Juan Carlos de la Hoz Viñas and Energy Specialist Veronica Prado and Acting Chief Project Analyst Brian Haynes listen in. (J. Carrington/BGIS)

Officials from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) received an update on the progress of several projects funded by the development agency during a recent courtesy call at the Ministry of Energy.

During the meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Francine Blackman informed that emphasis was now being placed on the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme and the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Energy Smart Fund II), co-funded by the IDB and the European Union.

She added: “We have had several technical cooperation packages where we had technical assistance to do a myriad of things to move the sector forward and to give the Ministry the kind of capabilities and competencies as we now seek to evolve into managing this sector.”

Mrs. Blackman continued: “Before, Government was a very silent partner in the energy space.  Now, this Ministry is taking on a more active role, as we transition from the fossil to renewables.  In our role as market monitor, we had to move from a monopoly type environment to a monopsony, where you have a single buyer that takes focal point in terms of how you progress.”

The IDB team also heard from the Ministry’s Project Manager in the Project Unit, Keisha Reid, who gave an overview of the past projects and their outcomes, as well as an outline of future programmes to come on stream.

Meanwhile, IDB’s Country Representative in Barbados, Juan Carlos De la Hoz Viňas, told Minister of Energy, Kerrie Symmonds, that in energy-related matters the bank considered itself as more than a financial partner.

He explained: “We transformed ourselves over the last 10 years from a purely financial source to a more knowledge partner and we have highly technical people providing that service.”

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