The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with representatives from the Latin-America Energy Organisation (OLADE), for the establishment of a sub-regional office in Jamaica.
The office, which is the second of its kind in the region, will serve the energy needs of nine Caribbean countries, including Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Suriname.
It is expected that the office will facilitate deeper integration among member countries in the Caribbean and provide even greater access to the use of products and services offered by OLADE.
Speaking at the contract signing on Tuesday (August 14), in Kingston, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said the MoU is a clear demonstration that the Government is committed to finding the right energy solutions for the people of Jamaica.
"The opening of this sub-regional office presents the Caribbean with additional technical expertise that will be integral to our development and will help to meet our development goals, particularly within the areas of energy security and efficiency,” Mr. Paulwell said.
The Minister said he is honoured that Jamaica was selected to host the sub-regional office, pointing out that this opportunity will make Jamaica a hub in the region in the area of energy. The second office in the region is located in Guatemala.
“In hosting this facility, Jamaica's leadership role in the Caribbean will be enhanced significantly. Our dedicated team at the Ministry, departments, agencies and institutional capacity will be boosted tremendously as a result of greater access to OLADE's technical experts,” he noted. “It will also go a far way in improving Jamaica’s technical ability to influence the kinds of projects undertaken by OLADE," the Minister added.
Mr. Paulwell said the office “will also serve to bridge the language gap and the geological borders that sometimes seem to divide us."
Additionally, the Energy Minister informed that the partnership with OLADE will also establish an avenue for knowledge sharing among experts and specialists in the energy sector within Latin-America and the Caribbean.
OLADE's sub-regional offices are responsible for co-ordinating, co-operating, assisting and implementing the organisation's sub-regional work plans, programmes and projects, with the help of the national co-ordinators of the member countries.
There are 27 OLADE member states in Latin-America and the Caribbean, and there is an indication that there could be a name change to the Latin American and the Caribbean Energy Organisation, in the near future.
Jamaica has enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship with OLADE, having been a member since its inception in 1973.