The Ministry of the Environment and Drainage (MED) formalised its relationship with the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that would facilitate an upgrade of the institution’s equipment.
The signing ceremony was held at the SJPP, and formed part of the Ministry’s celebrations to observe the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer under the theme: Ozone and Climate Restored by a World United.
In delivering the keynote address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Edison Alleyne, explained that the agreement would facilitate an upgrade to the refrigeration and air conditioning laboratory facilities at the Polytechnic to support the ongoing delivery of its diploma programme.
He added that it would also enhance the institution’s capacity to function as a National Vocational Qualification, or Caribbean Vocational Qualification centre.
“We believe that this will augur well for our ongoing hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) phase out programme, as well as for the embrace and longer term management of the new alternative refrigerants available on the market and forecasted for the future,” he said.
Project Manager in the National Ozone Unit at the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Rickardo Ward, noted that the world was moving towards climate friendly options, and Barbados was complying with its international obligations to put the necessary regulatory tools in place. That includes phasing down the HCFCs by 35 per cent by 2020 and a complete phase-out by 2030.
Meanwhile, Principal of the SJPP, Hector Belle, welcomed the new relationship, and gave the assurance that his institution would continue lending support to the policy initiatives of the National Ozone Unit.
“Further collaboration is now needed in the development of up-to-date training standards, [and the] development of training modules at a higher level…to ensure that Barbados is recognised…as operating at the highest capacity, and the procurement of up-to-date training equipment… If we are to be there with our competitors we must have equipment that will satisfy our training needs and the needs of industry,” he stated.
Mr. Belle explained that the National Ozone Unit, since its inception, worked closely with the SJPP to ensure that the emerging technicians had the requisite tools and skills to ensure that Barbados remained compliant with international obligations.
“We have seen the training and provision of resources to technicians as a clear signal of Government’s long-term commitment towards environmental protection, and sustained efforts to combat the effects of global warming and climate change,” he said.
During today’s celebrations, SJPP students Mario Jordan, Donnery Toppin and Kevin Evelyn were also awarded scholarships from the Ministry, which would cover their second year tuition costs.