Geothermal Development Ordinance Passes In Nevis

Minister Powell Presenting Geothermal Bill

Nevis’ Minister Powell Presenting Geothermal Bill

Charlestown, Nevis
July 09, 2008

History making legislation with regard to geothermal resources, the first of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean, was passed in the Nevis Island Assembly in Charlestown, shortly before 7pm on July 08, 2008.

The legislation entitled the Nevis Geothermal Resources Development Ordinance, 2008 was tabled by Jr. Minister with responsibility for Natural Resources Hon Carlisle Powell and would provide for the reconnaissance, exploration, drilling, production and use of geothermal resources; for vesting all such resources in the Crown and to provide for related incidental matters.

While he introduced the Bill, Mr. Powell addressed the matter in context of the history of the science of geothermal, the rising cost of fuel prices and the energy and economic independence that the geothermal resource could offer the people of Nevis.

“This Bill represents the future of Nevis. It represents our independence from energy produced by fossil fuels. It represents our fight for economic independence. It represents the platform for every form of independence for this our Nevis, lovely Nevis,” he said.

He also referred to the Bill as non controversial, among the most important pieces of legislation ever to be debated in Nevis’ Parliament and which represented the hard work and vision of a team of people who were dedicated to making life better for all Nevisians.

“This landmark legislation represents the hard work and vision of a team of people (Nevis reformation Party ““led Administration) who are dedicated to making life better for all Nevisians as we seek to reduce the cost of living for all of our people :Nationals and residents, private and business, NRP (supporters) and CCM (Concerned Citizens Movement supporters). This is one of the best gifts that we can give to our people on the eve of the second anniversary of our election to office,” he said.

Mr. Powell made the point that all fees under the Ordinance were payable to the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) through the Treasury in Charlestown.

He said geothermal energy represented the most important find in the history of Nevis and was equivalent to Trinidad’s oil or South Africa’s diamonds and gold or the natural gas of Russia. It was therefore incomprehensible, how any person with the best interest of Nevis at heart, could have worked so hard to legislate the economic future of the island into the hands of the Federal government.

The Minister at the time referred to a Geothermal Resource Development Bill by the CCM- led Administration in 2004, put together by a six member team led by Mr. A. John Armstrong, of which now Opposition Senator Hon. Mark Brantley was the only representative from Nevis.

The previous Bill made no provisions for any geothermal resources discovered on the island to be managed by the people of Nevis but instead provided for National Renewable Resources Policy Council which would be run by the Federal government.

Under the new Legislation, however, there would be the establishment of a Geothermal Resources Advisory Committee which would be chaired by the Minister with responsibility for Natural Resources would also comprise of the Ministers responsible for Finance, Lands, Physical Planning in the NIA and the Legal Advisor. Also the Geothermal Resource Development Promotion Commission, the Geothermal Resource Compliance Commission and two public representatives (one each from the business and conservation communities) both appointed by the Premier shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee.

Other persons who would include non-governmental consultants as the Minister may from time to time designate, shall be invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibility.

Mr. Powell publicly thanked his Permanent Secretary Mr. Ernie Stapleton who he said was the glue which held it all together and had worked tirelessly to coordinate the entire project.

He also pointed to the hard work of the local team which comprised of the Legal Department headed by Legal Advisor Mr. Patrice Nisbett, the Ministry of Finance headed by Permanent Secretary Mr. Laurie Lawrence and the Nevis Electricity Company Ltd. headed by General Manager Mr. Cartwright Farrell.

The Minister informed the Assembly that the NIA had worked closely with a team from the Organization of American States (OAS) Head of the Renewable Energy section Mr. Mark Lambrides, Mr. Kelvin De Cuba and Mr. A. John Armstrong from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) who had provided several hours of individual support at no cost to the government and people of Nevis to put the draft ordinance together.

1 thought on “Geothermal Development Ordinance Passes In Nevis”

  1. Found this posted on another site, it asks good questions!!!!

    “1. Why pass legislation now which is so “landmark” which was not subjected to public consultation and which members of the Opposition saw at the last possible minute when one NRP hack was able to comment on it in the local Press over a week ago?

    2. Why pass legislation dealing among other things with giving the NIA authority to grant permits and licenses, setting out fees for such permits and licences, mandating competitive bidding and setting up a Council to advise the NIA on, inter alia, who to grant licences to when the NRP HAS ALREADY GRANTED an exclusive licence to West Indies Power (WIP) since January, 2007 (a full 18 months before this “landmark” legislation) in a top secret deal without any bids and without any advice?

    3. Why did the NRP Administration cap the royalties it can receive to “not more than 5%” of the gross sales of geothermal power? WIP gets 95-100% and Nevis gets 0-5%.

    4. Why did the NRP allow WIP to only pay royalties if they generate and sell over 10MW of power? What if they generate steadily at 9.999MW? Nevis gets nothing!!!

    5. Who or what is WIP? Check their website at http://www.westindiespower.com and you will agree that it is glaringly silent on any relevant information about the company. We are told that it has “Caribbean and European investors”. Who are these investors? Why is it that Kerry McDonald appears on the public register as sole shareholder, sole director and secretary in the Annual Return filed on 20th November 2006 but was not granted an Alien Licence to act as a Director and Shareholder by the NRP until June of 2007 (8 months LATER).

    6. Patrice Nisbett was the lawyer who set up WIP in 2003. Is he still the lawyer for WIP now that he is also Legal Advisor to the NIA?

    7. When NRP granted an exclusive licence to WIP in January, 2007 what law guided them or authorized them to do so?

    8. After the OAS was abandoned in July of 2006 by the NRP, who advised Junior Minister Powell on his deal with WIP concluded in January of 2007? Did he advise himself? If not can we know who provided technical advice to the NRP on a matter this critical to Nevisians?

    9. What experience does WIP (a start up company formed in 2003) have in geothermal? Its website lists Saba and Nevis and nothing is happening in Saba. What experience do they have which could have so persuaded this NRP to do business with them on an exclusive basis without advice?

    10. Minister Powell tells us that the first plant will cost US$30 million. Where will WIP get the money to build out the plant? Who are these unnamed “Caribbean and European investors”?

    11. How is it that the NRP could have so readily jumped into bed with WIP which is not even in good standing on the Register of Companies in Nevis?

    12. Why does the Junior Minister keep telling the world that he didn’t get any money on this secret deal? No one has ever accused the Honourable Gentleman of any such thing nor could they for after all, he is an honourable man.

    The legislation coming as it did 18 months after Nevis’ geothermal was already handed lock stock and barrel to WIP makes a mockery of us all. The NRP should be ashamed to trumpet to the world that it has passed legislation which, through its earlier precipitous actions, is now entirely irrelevant.”

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