Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, will chair the board of the proposed Jamaica Energy Council (JEC), establishment of which has been approved by Cabinet.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, said the Council was being established to, among other things, deliberate on and give consideration to the country’s energy needs, going forward, and how these will be addressed.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (March 21) Jamaica House media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Falconer told journalists that Cabinet also gave authorisation for the Chairman to "operationalise" the Council, and ensure that the requisite institutional management, and administrative and operational support, are put in place to facilitate the entity’s smooth and effective running.
She advised that Cabinet also approved the establishment of a Secretariat, comprising representatives of the designated Ministry and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), to support the Council’s functions.
The 23-member JEC Board comprises a complement of private and public sector representation. These include: representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as well as the Ministries of: Finance and Planning; Agriculture and Fisheries; Youth and Culture; Transport, Works and Housing; Local Government and Community Development; Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change; and Industry, Investment and Commerce. The Opposition is also represented through Spokesman on Energy, Gregory Mair.
The membership also includes representatives of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO); Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ); Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS); Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC); American Chamber of Commerce; Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ); Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ); Jamaica Institute of Architects (JIA); and academia, among others.
Meanwhile, Senator Falconer assured that Minister Paulwell would be giving priority to concerns resonating over the high fuel and energy costs.
“He has been looking at it with a team; (but) he has not advised us yet as to what the next steps will be, but he has been looking at it, and he has said so,” the Information Minister said.
She said the Council is expected to have its first meeting “in short order”.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter