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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, Donovan Stanberry, has called for a nation-wide approach towards greater energy efficiency to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel.
Mr. Stanberry, who was addressing the opening of the three-day Caribbean Climate conference yesterday (April 10) at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay, said Jamaica’s consumption of fossil fuel was unsustainable and the country needed to seriously look to alternative energy sources.
“It is frightening when we look at our energy bill. In 2004, we spent US$943 million on oil, and we are more than 90 per cent dependent on fossil fuel as the source of our energy,” he stated.
Mr. Stanberry said that the tourism sector could play a part in the effort, by increasing the use of solar energy.
“Take Montego Bay for instance, with a cluster of hotels; I think Montego Bay has the critical mass to employ solar energy, if it is even for heating and reducing our dependence on the national grid,” he pointed out.
Turning to road developments, the Permanent Secretary expressed the view that roads must be built to withstand hurricanes and other bad weather conditions.
Using the Palisadoes road in Kingston as an example, he said that given the known effects of bad weather on that piece of roadway, it must be built to withstand great levels of storm surges.
The government is finalizing an agreement with Cuba for the rebuilding of the Palisadoes road. “The Cubans have transformed Varadero in Cuba that has similar problems. They are now in Cancun working on the same problem of beach restoration and I think out of that agreement, which is now being finalized, we are going to be able to restore Palisadoes, not only from the standpoint of a sea defense mechanism, but also the whole aesthetic, entertainment and cultural part of it. to restore it as a viable beach and a place in Kingston where people can enjoy the beach once again”, Mr. Stanberry stated.