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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has congratulated the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR) on their achievement.
Dr. Baugh, who was speaking at the official opening of OOCUR’s 8th Annual Conference currently underway at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, noted that the organization has the capacity to be a catalyst for national and regional development.
“Indeed your theme ‘Regulation, Convergence and the Competitive Environment’, suggests that you are cognizant of the valuable contribution that your respective bodies can make to national development,” he stated.
Focusing on the energy sector, he noted that a major challenge for countries like Jamaica was energy security.
“For small developing countries, such as Jamaica, that are not naturally endowed with resources, we must take a deliberate and targeted approach to finding cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy solutions,” he said.
Dr. Baugh said that because Jamaica is heavily dependent on oil imports, it is susceptible to the volatilities of the market, both in terms of the supply and the price of oil.
“In the context of the uncertainties and unpredictable nature of the global energy environment, it is imperative that we formulate a long- term strategy, supported by informed public behavior, on energy issues and an appropriate policy, regulation and institutional framework,” he stated.
He said that the National Energy Policy, recently tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Energy and Mining, Hono James Robertson, was firmly anchored in Vision 2030- Jamaica’s National Development Plan.
“The National Energy Policy envisages a modern, efficient, diversified and sustainable energy sector; one that provides affordable and accessible energy supplies with long term energy security,” he said, adding that steps were being taken to implement strategies to ensure the realization and success of the policy.
The OOCUR is a non-profit organization, whose purpose and objectives are to: assist in the improvement of utility regulation; foster transparent and stable utility regulation, through autonomous and independent regulators; undertake research, training and development; and facilitate understanding of regulation issues and sharing of information and experience.
The three-day conference will end on Friday, November 5.