Legislation will be taken to Parliament shortly to ensure there is constitutional protection for the capital expenditure fund for the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley shared this information with her audience on Wednesday, as she delivered the feature address at the Barbados Sustainable Energy Conference 2019, themed: Roadmap to 2030, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Ms. Mottley said: “Government has made certain determinations as to how it will protect the funding for the Water Authority for the next few decades. The Minister [of Energy and Water Resources] is going to be bringing that legislation to Parliament shortly, to ensure we have constitutional protection for the fund that is to guarantee the capital expenditure of the Water Authority….”
She noted that the BWA was one of the greatest users of electricity and said it should have responsibility for the generation of 20 per cent of the country’s renewable energy targets.
“The BWA will undertake those investments either by themselves or as joint venture partners with Barbados Light and Power or whosoever else in the country it is willing to have joint venture partnerships with.
“What we need is the revenue flow from that 20 per cent of renewable energy to secure the country’s capital expenditure on water so that we are not left out to sea with respect to ordinary citizens’ rights to have water in this country,” she said.
During the wide-ranging address, Ms. Mottley emphasized the importance of small island states participating in climate change meetings, saying they needed to be there to make their cases.
She stated that she wanted children to be a part of the climate change battle and disclosed that she had asked her office to begin planning schools visits for her. “It is our children who I want as my primary allies in this [climate change] battle because this is about their world,” she contended
The Prime Minister expressed the view that it was time to translate high policy into local action and resilience and said companies must be asked to play their part.
“The tourism sector has to sit with us and agree on the timeline for the changing to renewable energy for every major hotel in this country…. We are going to require the same thing from the members of the [Barbados] Chamber of Commerce with respect to the powering of the distributive trade and other aspects of the private sector operations in Barbados,” she added.
She further disclosed that Government had been in discussions with the Arawak Cement Plant and expressed the view that its energy costs needed to be brought down.
She opined that it was better to protect the entire production of the plant by ensuring it had the lowest cost of energy rather than seeking to protect domestic production alone through higher tariffs.
“The bottom line is, the higher tariffs ultimately will negatively affect the cost of construction,” she stated, adding that there was a need to transition to lower tariffs and energy costs.
She noted Government had met every target of the International Monetary Fund programme it entered into one year ago. She said Government recently launched EZpay+ and it was now trying to digitize other services.
She indicated that within two years Barbadians would have a hassle free environment in which to access services in Government.