Post-Cabinet Briefing For October 5th, 2009

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Post-Cabinet Briefing For October 5th, 2009

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 07, 2009

Renewable Energy Matters

Dr. Hon. Earl Asim Martin, Minister responsible for Energy, submitted to the Cabinet a full report on the work his ministry is doing to fast-track the build-out of renewable energy in St. Kitts. Dr Martin revealed that data from wind testing done at Belle Vue mountain, a site earmarked for wind farm development, have demonstrated a very strong and positive potential for the wind electricity generation.

The minister also revealed that a draft contract between the Government and North Star (St. Kitts) Ltd, a local company with parent company based in the United States, has already been prepared through the assistance of the Organisation of American States. Upon the signing of the contract, and subsequently, a power purchase agreement, North Star will be required to supply at least 8 Megawatts of electricity generated from wind.

With respect to geothermal electricity, the Minister expressed pride and satisfaction in the role the Federal Government played over the last several years to help the geothermal project on Nevis come to fruition. The Minister suggested the need to begin to consider a way forward that would culminate with the signing of the relevant power purchase agreement for the purchase of geothermal electricity from the suppliers on Nevis.

Dr Martin envisaged that in the next couple of years, St. Kitts and Nevis would have a significant mix of cheap renewable energy creating downward pressure on the price of electricity, boosting economic activity and improving the quality of life of all of our people.

Status Report On Housing Programme

At today’s Cabinet meeting, updates on three of government’s housing projects were given by Minister responsible for Housing, Hon. Cedric Liburd. The Minister made reference to the following housing schemes:
“¢ NEMA Starter Home Improvement Project
“¢ Ex-SSMC Housing Project
“¢ NHC Housing Solution 500 Project

The NEMA Starter Home Improvement Project is a project designed to assist owners of NEMA starter homes in expanding their homes. A total of about 157 persons were identified to benefit from this project and approximately 125 families have had their homes already. Total investment of about EC$6 million has already been made in this regard.

In respect of the Ex-SSMC Housing Project, ex-SSMC workers are benefiting from either new homes or the improvement of their existing homes. In the first instance, about 250 persons have qualified for new homes, of which a significant number have already been completed. Recently, construction on a further 65 such homes has begun and these are projected to be completed shortly.

Under the home improvement component for ex-SSMC workers, about 100 families have been identified to benefit. Significant progress has been made under this component.
The NHC Housing Solution 500 Project commenced at the beginning of 2008. Under this particular project, 500 low income houses are to be constructed, a significant number already completed. The remaining houses are to be completed over the next few months.

In addition to the houses to be constructed under this programme, new roads have been constructed on some existing housing projects at Pine Gardens, Pleasant View, Wingfield and Christ Church, for example.

International Conventions
Cabinet approved the ratification of three international conventions as follows:
“¢ The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (2001)
“¢ The Maritime Liens and Mortgages Convention (1993)
“¢ The UNESCO underwater Cultural Heritage Convention(2001)

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage was adopted to ensure that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers.
The Convention applies to damage caused on a territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States party to the convention.
The objective of the Maritime Liens and Mortgages Convention is best summed up by the preamble of the convention, as follows:
CONSCIOUS of the need to improve conditions for ship financing and the development of national merchant fleets,
RECOGNIZING the desirability of international uniformity in the field of maritime liens and mortgages, and therefore
CONVINCED of the necessity for an international legal instrument governing maritime liens and mortgages,
HAVE DECIDED to conclude a Convention for this purpose

The UNESCO underwater Cultural Heritage Convention (2001) was designed to protect the underwater cultural heritage of countries. It was reckoned that with improved diving technology, the cultural heritage assets located under the oceans or other bodies of water were being threatened, hence the need to prevent it.

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