Mr. Speaker, I quote from Julius Caesar “there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”
Mr. Speaker, in many ways, Jamaica is at such a tide; and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining is taking the current when it serves; and has every reason to be proud.
The policies of this Ministry have led to the price of telephone calls being the lowest in the region at less than J$3 per minute, down from J$127 per minute in the year 2000.
This Ministry renewed existing telecom licences and granted new ones which earned J$12.6 Billion (or US$115 Million) for the Government of Jamaica. A payment of approximately J$7 Billion (or US$64 Million) was made on March 31, 2014.
Despite the howls of protest when initially introduced by this Ministry, the Universal Service Fund (USF) has collected approximately J$12 Billion from the Universal Service Levy since its inception. This is being used to unleash internet access, and technology in every nook and cranny of Jamaica.
This Ministry has continued the build-out of the national Broadband Network, connecting secondary schools, select post offices, libraries and hospitals. One hundred and seventy-seven (177) Community Access Points (CAP) have been established across the country as at March 31 this year. This has brought thousands of Jamaicans into the world of the internet.
This Ministry has brought electricity for the first time at last to thousands of Jamaicans in communities such as Plumwood in South Manchester; Adams Valley in North West Manchester; Top Conolly in West Central St. Catherine; Powell Town in South East St. Elizabeth; Louden Hill and Airy Castle in St. Thomas; and Fishers Spring and Bodles Pen in South West St. Catherine, just to name a few. In addition Mr. Speaker, to date, I have signed 166 licences of a total of 193 applications with a combined capacity of over 2.6 MW for Net Billing. This will avoid the importation of 35,000 barrels of oil annually, and saving approximately US$3.5 Million.
Mr. Speaker, the Government’s Energy Conservation and Efficiency project is well underway. This project is transforming energy usage across the entire public sector. For example, at the National Housing Trust we spent J$1.1 Million to install solar control film. After one (1) year Mr. Speaker, the consumption was reduced by 87,138 Kwh representing a cost savings of J$3.5 Million and a simple payback of four (4) months. Also, at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), J$2.3 Million was in- vested in solar control film and after eight (8) months, the consumption was reduced by 49,749 Kwh representing a cost saving of J$2 Mil- lion and a simple payback of seven (7) months. And Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of National Security would be pleased to know that we have not left out the police stations. At the Spanish Town Police Station, we invested J$360,000 in solar control film. After five (5) months, total consumption was reduced by 6,758 Kwh representing a total cost saving of J$271,000 and a simple payback of seven (7) months.
Last year this Ministry committed to introducing Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel Fuel (ULSD) for the transportation sector by June 26, 2013. Mr. Speaker, all Jamaica now knows that on that matter, I can say mission accomplished.
This Ministry assisted in achieving the first sale of goods under the Petro Caribe Trade Compensation Mechanism, with the sale of clinker to Venezuela valued at approximately US$8.5 Million…READ MORE