Maybe BU missed it and if we did we are willing to apologize to the government. It is approaching two years since the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) took-up the reigns of government and we are still to sense the urgency of its renewable policy. So far all we have read about is the wind farm program being piloted by the Barbados Light & Power Company which if we understand correctly is locked down in the bureaucracy of Town Planning and by extension government.
Is there more Barbadians should know about our RE policy and if so why not have a national discourse to ensure top of mind awareness? Is there a role for the Fourth Estate of Barbados? Hell yes!!!
Barbadians remember the urgency to discover renewable energy sources and the public fear which was fuelled when the price of a barrel of oil jumped to USD147 just over a year ago. In the post-global financial meltdown there has been a significant reduction in the oil price which at last closing indicated USD78.30. Although BU concedes most governments around the globe have had to allocate unplanned resources to survival and not growth initiatives, it does not explain why our government supported by traditional media would not articulate, distil and or communicate to Barbadians some urgency about our renewable energy program.
The logic used over one year ago to shift Barbados’ dependence from fossil fuel is the same today is it not?
In a call-in program yesterday (November 8, 2009) on VOB there was consensus it seems that our media houses are hamstrung by the lack of resources to follow-up on stories. This admission alone paints a worrying picture for the state of health of the Fourth Estate in Barbados. It is significant that in the month of November when Barbados will celebrate 43 years of Independence our thoughts as a nation should be about energy dependence. Energy cost is the key input which drive prices in Barbados and a significant slice of the import bill which requires foreign exchange support. How can Barbados claim to be a progressive country in this part of the world when we continue to build our economic success on legacy models which are quickly becoming redundant and unstable given the reality of the non-renewability of fossil fuels.
The IDB has developed Sustainable Energy Frameworks and Programmes for both Barbados and the Bahamas. In Barbados, funding has been allocated for a Sustainable Energy (SE) Framework, a SE Pilot Programme funded by the Global Environment Facility, a SE Investment Loan, and an Energy Policy Based Loan.
The programme focusses on developing solar and wind energy, and it is expected to lead to significant savings in terms of megawatt hours of electricity on an annual basis.
According to the agenda Barbados attended the conference.
BU remains concerned that the local media has not followed the story of a Barbados Renewable Program. It is important and our Fourth Estate has a duty to inform Barbadians on the matter. The sad reality remains, the average intelligent Barbadian continues to live life oblivious to the danger posed by our over-dependence on fossil based energy. The laziness with which our last government during times of plenty did nothing to develop an RE program will surely stain its legacy and speaks to whether Barbadians are as literate as the hype suggest.. Despite the current financial hardship, it remains an important priority for our government to aggressively pursue an RE policy.
The T&T article quoted above reflects an irony that Trinidad which is a significant oil producing country in our region is being encouraged by its Fourth Estate to develop a Renewable Energy policy.