FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26th January 2015
Prime Minister Christie meets with CARICOM leaders ahead of energy summit
Bahamas Information Services
Nassau, Bahamas (26th Jan) – Wasting no time in his official capacity as the effective political head of CARICOM, Bahamas Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie caucused with his Heads of Government Sunday evening in Washington DC ahead of the inaugural Caribbean Energy Security Summit scheduled to begin on Monday.
While the Caribbean Community was clear in its desire for increased access to new funding and investment opportunities, they wanted to take a wait and see attitude by first listening to and analyzing the policy position and proposals presented by the United States before finalizing their regional policy position.
In chairing his first official Heads of Government meeting, Prime Minister Christie said that in representing a diverse group such as CARICOM, there are bound to be varying levels of demands that countries would like to see fulfilled and consequently, varying levels of satisfaction when decisions are made. It was however necessary for all countries to take full advantage of the opportunities such a summit will present.
“We are well aware that there will be significant corporate personalities present who are interested in investing in our countries so it is going to be I think critical for me to reflect the conditions and views of the countries represented by CARICOM” said the Prime Minister.
Speaking more directly and specifically to the needs and concerns of CARICOM was the country’s Environment Minister Hon. Kenred Dorsett who said that it was important that “conditions associated with the funding does not preclude any member country from being able to access it; making sure that it’s new funding so that we don’t find themselves precluding us from getting from traditional sources that we’ve already been able to access fund from – will be very important and to ensure that at the end of the day, the actual mechanism by which funding is granting is centered in the CARICOM region to ensure greater level of accountability.”
Another important issue up for discussion according to the Environment Minister was the availability of and access to natural gas from the United States and a clearer explanation from the US delegation on the licensing and approval processes for the export of vitally important energy source into CARICOM countries. This is important as CARICOM looks to use cleaner and cheaper fuels like natural gas and reduce its reliance on traditional fossil fuel such as diesel and heavy fuel oil or bunker C.
Further, the Environment Minister said he hoped The Bahamas is not judged on its gross domestic product and eliminated from eligibility for critical funding. This has been a long standing and vexing challenge for The Bahamas in accessing critical funding for national development. Both the country’s Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie and Foreign Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell have addressed this issue in various international forums.
According to the US State Department, this Summit is a key component of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) that the US Vice President announced in June 2014. It brings together government, finance, and private sector leaders from the United States, the Caribbean, and representatives of the international community to promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, energy diversification, greater access to finance, and donor coordination.