The youth are key to creating a cleaner and greener environment across Barbados and the rest of the world.
This was underscored by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification, Charley Browne, as he addressed an awards ceremony for five students of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), who received National Ozone Depleting Substances Phase-Out Support Scholarships.
Noting that the ozone depleting substances of primary concern to Barbados were those used as refrigerants in the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector, Mr. Browne said the Ministry had adopted a multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach to phase out their use and consumption by January 1, 2030.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the Ministry recognised the importance of targeting students of the RAC profession, as they were the “vanguard” of the RAC technician field.
“We see your development as a critical component to achieving and sustaining the success of local, and by extension global measures to protect the ozone layer and to reduce the impact of climate change,” he said.
He added that the award of the scholarship was an additional avenue to safeguard the environment; support the commitment to the growth and development of Barbados’ youth, and positively influence the change needed for future RAC technicians.
However, he reminded other stakeholders in the industry that it was also critical for them to be involved in the process.
“While we pursue the transformation of the local RAC sector by using a combination of policies and legislation, capacity building and education and awareness-raising activities, it remains imperative that stakeholders operating in the sector play their part as well,” he said.
Mr. Browne added that actions such as the broad-based adoption of good service practices among RAC technicians, particularly the recovery of refrigerants from equipment, and transition to the use of environmentally friendly and energy efficient alternatives were of vital importance.
Chairman of the SJPI, Shelton Perkins, encouraged the scholarship winners to fulfill their responsibility through diligence, dedication, and consistent application of the skills taught in their course.
The scholarship programme was introduced in 2014, and provides second year students enrolled in the Diploma in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning with their tuition fee and a $700 grant to support the purchase of books, tools and other incidentals, with a total value of $1,100.
This year’s scholarship winners were Shakira Brancroft, Nathaniel Belgrave, J’vonté Brathwaite, Marlen Morris, and Shon Hall.