Junior Minister Carlisle Powell
April 7, 2008
Junior Minister responsible for Works, Public Utilities, Natural Resources and the Environment Hon. Carlisle Powell cleared suspicions that the Nevis Reformation Party led Nevis Island Administration (NIA) had abandoned the services of the Organization of American States (OAS). Minister Powell made the announcement during a Press Conference held to update the media of the NIA’s move to embark upon putting proper legislations in place to govern Nevis’ Geothermal Energy resources.
“I know there were attempts made to mislead the general public to suggest that the NIA through the NRP in office had dismissed the services of the OAS, which had been used for Nevis, for some time. On the outset, I just want to clear the air and say the OAS continues to work with us and has assisted us in every turn to ensure that we were able to move the project forward properly. It was for this reason why we have the very able assistance of these two tireless workers,” Mr. Powell said.
Minister Powell said the OAS services secured by the NIA [over the past week] of Mr. Kevin De Cuba and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Mr. John Armstrong, were efficiently used during their one week working period on the island. He also added they made certain all of the legislations were in place for Purchase Agreements for the geothermal project to continue being useful to the people of Nevis, to help reduce the cost of living on the island.
“We have taken the opportunity given to us by the presence of these two gentlemen to make sure we do all of the hard work that is necessary. They would be with us for one week and we are taking advantage of the many hours for that week, to put in as many hours as possible so that when they leave, we would have given them the idea as to where we want to go with legislations for geothermal energy
“It would be up to Mr. Armstrong when he returned to his office and to Mr. Kevin De Cuba as well. They will be able to take what we’ve discussed and send us an updated draft. The legal advisor [Mr. Patrice Nisbett] and his team would be able to turn that around and get all of the answers which had been outstanding to Mr. Armstrong, who will finalize the draft and get it back to us,” Mr. Powell said.
Mr. Powell indicated that Nevis benefited by having the expert assistance of Mr. Armstrong and Mr. De Cuba at no cost to the NIA.
He further spoke of a conference he had attended in Barbados during the past week, which was jointly hosted by the governments of Barbados and Iceland. He said the Conference was attended by persons involved in geothermal explorations, who indicated that the NIA’s geothermal project had created interest not only locally but regionally and internationally. He further added that El Salvador, Guatemala and Iceland, were countries that had representation at the conference and had been using geothermal energy.
He also revealed a geothermal university was located in Iceland, and it was the NIA’s goal to attract young students and others who showed interest in geothermal studies to pursue training in Iceland and Guatemala. This he said would provide a cadre of trained workers in Nevis to develop its human resources in the area of geothermal energy.
“For the first time, we were able to learn of the United Nations University which is hosted by Iceland, where the people of Nevis can benefit from up to a P.HD in geothermal energy and all that is to be learned about the resource. We also found out about some short courses, offered in Guatemala,” he said.”
Mr. Powell also said the NIA’s intention was to get out the information about geothermal energy to the public. He also said prior to 2007 no education had taken place in Nevis about geothermal energy. He also said the NIA would offer full scholarships to young students and others who wished to study abroad and pursue studies in the field of geothermal energy, which had very few specialists.
“And so that is a part of what we have been doing in the Primary Schools, in the Secondary Schools and at the Sixth Form level. We have gone to all of the schools in Nevis and gave presentations and updated the community about geothermal energy and what we now have to do is to advise our people of the tremendous opportunity for them to go to the university and study the subject and become qualified. This will enable them to work in the renewable energy field any place where there’s geothermal energy in the world.”
He further spoke about West Indies Power Nevis (WIP) as the developer of Geothermal Energy as opposed to being management of the resource. He also said the resource belonged to the people of Nevis and “the legislations would provide a power purchase agreement to be signed off between the developer and the utility company.” The legislations he said would regulate the industry.
Minister Powell further stated the NIA’s intended to be consistent with making geothermal energy possible and assured the public that it had made geothermal a new word in the vocabulary of the people on Nevis. The NIA would make certain that the people of Nevis benefited from a resource which the people of Iceland said had transformed its economy from a virtually low GDP to a higher GDP.
Meantime, UNIDO Policy and Legal expert Mr. John Armstrong indicated at the conference that “if the rest of the Caribbean countries were as energetic and determined as the NIA had been for the past week he had been on the island, those countries would have been further ahead [with renewable energy]”.
Mr. Armstrong is a legal expert in making Policy for Renewable Energy resources, Law and Commercial Transactions for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Mr. Kevin De Cuba an Engineer Specialists for the Organization of American States (OAS) were present at the Press Conference.
Permanent Secretary for Communications and Works Mr. Ernie Stapleton moderated the Press conference. He acknowledged the services of Professor Albert Binger from the University of the West Indies (UWI) for his assistance to the Energy Bill being worked on. He also acknowledged the tremendous support from Ambassador Starett Green, OAS Director based on St Kitts for being instrumental in the renewable energy project.