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Reduction Of 30% In Fuel Cost By 2018

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KINGSTON, Sept. 17 (Jamaica Information Service Press Release): Jamaica can expect a reduction of at least 30 per cent in fuel cost by 2018, resulting in savings on energy of US$350 million.

This is to be achieved through the implementation of several energy projects, which should begin from as early as 2015, and will include new baseload generating plants.

The Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET) provided an update in its report on Jamaica’s baseload capacity, at a media briefing, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, today (September 17).

Outlining the details, Chairman, ESET, Dr. Vincent Lawrence, said several entities have presented proposals to build, own and operate new power generation and feedstock facilities, supplying electrical power to the national grid.

The entities include: the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Jamalco and Alpart. He noted that several other entities have indicated their interest to supply feedstock and build power generation facilities, including renewable and fossil.

He noted that the JPS has proposed to convert, by 2015, the Bogue Power Station, Montego Bay, to burn gas; and replace the existing 292 megawatt HFoil power plants at Old Harbour and Hunts Bay with a 190 MW gas turbine plant, fuelled with liquid natural gas.

Dr. Lawrence said the proposals from Alpart include the development of a new gas facility in 2017. “We will also have to build all the transmission lines. A 138 kv interconnection line will have to be built in that area to tie in to the system,” he said.

By the following year, he said, it is expected that Jamalco will be on stream with their coal fired co-generation facility. “The plan is to bring coal from Colombia, which is low sulphur coal. The analysis shows that the emissions at the coal plant will be significantly less than the current emissions from the oil plant,” he said.

Dr. Lawrence pointed out that during the construction of these power plants, approximately 2,400 persons would be employed.
He said the benefits to be derived from the projects include significant improvement to the voltage stability, grid security, and lower technical losses.

“I think a lot of people in some areas may be quite happy about that, because some people aren’t experiencing the level of stability and grid security that they should be experiencing at this time,” he added.
The Chairman said the feedstocks of the new baseload power plants will result in lower plant stack emission levels, than the current high sulphur HFoil feedstock.

Dr. Lawrence noted that production cost at the alumina plants would be reduced which would make the plants more competitive in the global market, adding that people who work in the alumina industry would resume their jobs.

He said that ESET will now conduct further due diligence of the proposals to include: more analysis of the credibility of the fuel sources; financial proposals and development plans within the framework of the least cost expansion and integrated resource plans.

“We also plan to commission independent appraisals…to ensure that Jamaica receives value for the money, and we want support of our team in negotiations with the project sponsors, including JPS and the go-generational developers,” Dr. Lawrence said.

He pointed out that coordination will be done with the Office of the Utilities Regulation in engaging the prospective developers and JPS to formalise the terms of the generating licences and power purchase agreements.

The Chairman said the work of the team has been communicated to the Cabinet and the Leader of the Opposition.
The six-member team was established by Cabinet on June 2, 2014 and mandated to lead and manage several critical initiatives related to the replacement of baseload generating capacity and the review of sector related policy legislation.

The overall purpose of the team is to lead and manage a procurement process for the development of additional baseload generation capacity and related facilities in the short term, in order to significantly reduce the cost of electricity to consumers, while ensuring diversification in the fuel supply mix.

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Bahamas News

Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas

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February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7.  The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration.  This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).

Present at the ceremony were:  The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.

The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant.  He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.

In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF.  It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.”  He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM.  Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.

The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion.  Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.

He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill.  Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.

It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade.  The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”

For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.

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Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Government

Texas bans TikTok from government agencies 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

#USA, February 7, 2023 – Chinese owned TikTok has officially been banned from Government devices in another US State following the passing of a new law banning the social media app on Federal devices in December.  Texas Governor Greg Abott made the decision for his state following Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Utah.

In a statement posted to his website Abbott said “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored.”

He also claimed the app was harvesting significant amounts of data from users’ phones, maintaining the ban was necessary to  protect Texas’ sensitive information from threats.

The ban on downloading and use will apply to both state and personal devices with internet connectivity  that are used to conduct state business including cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.

It also prohibits residents from conducting state business with devices that have TikTok or other ‘prohibited technology’ enabled on them and bans any device with this technology from entry and use in sensitive areas, locations or meetings. The ban must be in effect by February 15 in all state agencies. There was no indication it would affect devices, personal or otherwise, not used to conduct state business.

The ban comes amidst increased tensions between the country and the Republic of China over a spy balloon that was sent into US airspace by China and then shot down by the US.

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