Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite (left) looking on as Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno sign the loan agreement.

Government has signed an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US $40 million loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to kick-start the island’s energy conservation and coastal zone management initiatives.

This signing ceremony between Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, and IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno, took place at Government Headquarters on Bay Street, during the President’s one-day official visit to the island on Monday.

The two loans – one of US $10 for the establishment of an Energy Smart Fund and the other for US$30 million, would be used to support a Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme to preserve the island’s beaches.

Mr. Stuart said he was "flabbergasted" to discover that what the island spent on the importation of oil could be compared with the amount of money spent on education.

"This is a situation that is not satisfactory to us and therefore the issue of renewable energy is a front-burner agenda item for Barbados," he underlined.

The Prime Minister further stated that government was working towards reducing the island’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels over the next 10 to 15 years by at least 30 percent.?? ??

Regarding the coastal assessment progamme, Mr. Stuart said the information gathered would allow technocrats to handle any challenges that may arise as a result of climate change.

"Our coastlines mean a bit to us and issues such as coastal erosion, have to be a matter of concern to Barbados particularly because it is a tourist destination among other things.?? So, this loan agreement is intended to deal with issues of preservation of our coastlines, assessing the risk and dealing with the issues that will flow from that assessment and Barbados considered itself fortunate to be able to secure this loan for that purpose.

"There are issues of climate change that also are impacting and I suppose, in the foreseeable future, would continue to impact on Barbados and it is important that we have information at our disposal that allows us to handle the challenges that may arise from the impact of climate change on our coastline and issues of coastal erosion," he added.

Meanwhile, IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno, said the bank was committed to a strong partnership with Barbados. "The visit is an opportunity to reaffirm its support for Barbados and to discuss how we can continue to respond effectively to the country’s development needs."

Mr. Moreno, who arrived in the island on Sunday February, 6, departed on Tuesday, February 7.?? On Monday, February 7, he met with a cross section of business people from the private sector during a breakfast session at Hilton Barbados.?? Following this, he toured the South Coast boardwalk and the local IDB office at Mervue House, Hastings, Christ Church.

Later that day he visited the Caribbean Development Bank’s, Wildey, St. Michael office.?? The visit culminated with a cocktail reception hosted by the Prime Minister at Ilaro Court.??


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