The Ministry of Telecommunications has invited the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) to clearly demonstrate that it has the network capacity to ensure that the people of Guyana have access to quality data services.
According to the ministry, the request was made to guarantee that the Guyanese people would not be adversely affected by a cessation of a bypass link Digicel is accused of having to Suriname.
GT&T in a statement on Saturday had accused its telecommunications counterpart, Digicel, of having an illegal, unlicensed trans-border link between Guyana and Suriname. GT&T said that it knows the bypass is causing very real and significant harm to Guyana, costing the country about US$30M over the last five years.
However, according to the Ministry, its intention is to arrive at a resolution that will be in the best interest of the people of Guyana. The entity said that the claims made against Digicel have proven to be a complex matter, exacerbated by demands of the market for adequate voice and data services.
The statement read, “Among the issues to be considered are whether GT&T has sufficient data capacity to meet the needs of the market and the degree of congestion of its network.”
The Ministry stressed that its request of GT&T to show proof of its ability to properly serve the Guyanese people should not be interpreted as condoning the illegal activity.
Ultimately, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications which is headed by Minister Cathy Hughes said that to prevent the resurgence of similar claims by telecommunications companies against their competitors, there should be a fully liberalised and competitive sector.
The Jamaica Library Service Embraces the Use Of Technology In Its Service Delivery
Jamaica’s library community has been evolving and remains quite relevant in a technologically-driven society through the array of services it offers to meet the demands of users.
The Jamaica Library Service (JLS) offers free access to computers, internet and other electronic resources to enable persons to utilize a range of informational, educational and recreational resources.
The Service consists of 119 fixed locations, with a mobile library service which caters to some 370 communities island wide. More than 600 JLS staff members participated in customer service, digital literacy and social media courses, while some 2,000 library users received training in basic computer and digital literacy.
Additionally, well-trained computer specialists are available in the thirteen parish library networks to ensure that technical problems are solved quickly and users enjoy reliable and efficient computer services. Basic computer training is also offered to members of the public.
Director General at the JLS, Karen Barton, said that through a US$2-million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative, and US$1.1 million from the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, that the library’s services have gone way beyond just lending books, and now expands to meeting the demands of the entire community.
Ms. Barton explained “We are expecting to reach as many Jamaicans as possible, who have access to all our libraries and mobile units. We are also on a mission to increase our membership as many persons feel that the library is just about books, but the library is more like the community hub, where you can fulfil educational and academic needs and so, we are targeting a large number of persons in order for the community to be transformed through technology,”
On April 1st, the JLS implemented an Integrated Library Management System (ILMS) called Koha, to improve the efficiency of the library’s operations as well as service for users. Koha, an automated open-source management system will allow library users to obtain access to search online catalogues from anywhere in the world.
Jamaica's USF To Provide Wifi Downtown and Olympic Gardens
The Universal Service Fund (USF) continues its quest to provide 100 per cent Internet penetration across Jamaica with Wi-Fi hotspots to be provided at the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston and in Olympic Gardens.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the USF, Suzette Buchanan, said that in addition to fulfilling its mandate, she hopes these hotspots will also assist in facilitating entrepreneurship.
She explained that the Olympic Gardens should be a busy commercial area shortly and, as such, “the hotspot being created there, is to complement the entertainment activities along the thoroughfare, and to also assist in providing income for small entrepreneurs in the vicinity”.
“We have St William Grant Park, which will also provide connectivity to the market,” she said, adding that the hotspots should be functioning by the first week in April.
Additionally, the CEO said that there are plans to provide hotspots in Spanish Town, St Catherine; Mandeville in Manchester; and Junction in St Elizabeth. “Based on our research, our findings indicate that even though Jamaicans have devices, a very small percentage of these individuals are connected,” she said.
“We want to encourage Jamaicans to utilise their online services. If you are paying your taxes, you can pay it online, and you can also visit our Government websites to see what is available to you, to keep yourself updated and to be educated,” Buchanan added.
The USF started providing free Wi-Fi in public spaces in late 2016 and has already provided free Wi-Fi at Devon House in Kingston as well as the Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree square.
PWC Works With Bitt To Propel The Caribbean's Digital Evolution
The Barbados-based FinTech company, Bitt Inc. and the professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that they have executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) whereby the two entities, while remaining independent, will work together to deepen the use of blockchain technology across the Caribbean.
The MOU is with respect to advisory services that PwC may provide to companies seeking to utilize blockchain technology, including those relating to the advancement of Bitt services such as the use of electronic money, digitalfiat currency, block-chain technology, and virtual currency services throughout the Caribbean.
“This understanding firmly places Bitt and PwC as the drivers of the regional re-design of the Caribbean’s financial services using blockchain technology,” said Gabriel Abed, Bitt’s CEO and Co-Founder.
Commercial banks, central banks and other institutions seeking to pilot Bitt’s software will benefit from access to PwC’s deep, global FinancialTechnology expertise in blockchain research and knowledge, marketplace strategy, operational readiness and technology services.
Oliver Jordan, PwC Partner and lead for Advisory services in the East Caribbean, said, “We at PwC see enormous potential for blockchain in financial services to which end we developed the strategic and implementation capabilities necessary to help financial institutions, technology companies and startups take advantage of this transformative technology.”
“We have agreed to work alongside Bitt on future institutional blockchain technology implementations by, for example, central banks, commercial banks and government institutions throughout the region because not only does blockchain offer the promise of cost reduction and efficiency, but it could also enable revenue growth, and higher-quality service. Across the PwC Global network, we have already seen enormous potential for blockchain to deliver substantial value to financial services- and we intend to continue to lead the way across the financial services landscape in the Caribbean,” he added.
Globally, PwC offers ‘Blockchain Services‘ and has developed the strategic and implementation capabilities necessary to help financial institutions, technology companies and startups take advantage of this transformative technology.
Bitt’s vision is to provide the Caribbean with access to innovative software that improves efficiency and ease of money transfer throughout the Caribbean and beyond.
The number of internet connections in the Dominican Republic soared by over 22 percent year on year to reach 6.1 million at the end of January, having grown 26 percent in 2016 as a whole, according to data published by telecommunications regulator Indotel.
However, Indotel’s chairman Jose del Castillo Savinon emphasizes that aim is to boost internet penetration from the current figure of less than 50 percent of the population to at least 70 percent over the next three years. The country’s Republica Digital programme calls for substantially increased fibre-optic coverage to meet the goal, starting with the introduction of broadband services in ten more provinces via a backbone network to be rolled out by state utilities giant ETED. The fibre-optic backbone “will connect nearly all of the country’s 32 provinces via 55 nodes nationwide,” said the Indotel head.
The watchdog added that total of 8.70 million mobile telephone lines were in operation in the Dominican Republic at the end of January, three-quarters of which were pre-paid. There were also 1.11 million fixed lines, 228,502 IP lines.
Caribbean Leaders Urged To Embrace ICT
In keeping with the theme of ICT Week and Symposium Antigua and Barbuda; ICT – Driving 21st Century Intelligent Services, Melford Nicholas, minister of information, broadcasting, telecommunications and information technology stated, “ICT has disrupted the financial order. Technology has a way of working around the established order. The Caribbean should not fear the disruptive nature of ICT – but embrace it.”
Melford was speaking at the 15th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic Seminar in Antigua and Barbuda. He made a strong call to the region to embrace the emerging technologies as the Caribbean is facing the reality of how cash will become a thing of the past.
He added, “We should open our minds to the possibility of the financial sector. We should find ourselves a new sitting place in the world order, and if we respond well, we would find ourselves in a position to exploit opportunities.”
These seminars are designed to raise awareness of the emerging technologies, their implications for policy, legislation and regulations and their potential to foster national and regional development. It further explored new modes of providing secure financial services for all citizens, the use of cryptocurrencies, innovative ways of financing the region’s ICT-enabled development, and advancing the Caribbean’s participation in the information age.
Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of the CTU, made a strong call to policy makers to examine the potential impact of ICT on development.
“ICT are cross-cutting, enabling tools. It is imperative therefore that policymakers from all sectors collectively examine the impact of ICT on the development of their respective sectors,” she said.
The seminar addressed various issues critical to the region such as ICT-enabled financial solutions; financing options for ICT projects; security matters and 21st century financial services for all, presented by line-up of industry expert speakers.
Caribbean ministers of government from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia, as well as senior officials from diverse sectors including ICT, finance, national security, health and education attended the seminar, as ICT is a cross-cutting area that transcends various sectors.
Book Fusion Almost Scuppered By Caribbean Stereotypes
Book Fusion is an internationally acclaimed online book publishing platform founded by Jamaican Dwayne Campbell. But as we hear the success was almost shot down by traditional parental aspirations, we hear more from founder Dwayne Campbell as to how he got his project going.
So when I was in University at the time, you know everybody coming from the Caribbean usually your parents want you to be a doctor or a lawyer or you know then engineer. So when I was back in Jamaica I did my high school website at the time in the HT ML and CSS so I had assumed I could teach myself computers you know and programming. So I went there with the goal of doing becoming a doctor so I started with biology but then eventually I'm you know it was repeating the same content from six form so I switched to Chemical Engineering.
And then I was volunteering in a computer science lab which was a student-run lab where they provided servers and resources for students to learn and develop and I found myself spending a lot of time in this environment until I ended up working there as a Systems Administrator so by the time I was ready to switch my major to computer science, that would have extended the time needed to graduate so I decided to do a minor or in it instead.
We will hear more from Book Fusion in subsequent episodes.
Jamaican Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley says the Master’s of Science in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change recently launched at the University of Technology (UTech) will play an important role in Jamaica’s collaboration with CARICOM on green economy development.
“It is a pioneer programme that will graduate critical thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs in the sustainable energy and green economy fields,” Dr Wheatley told last Tuesday’s Renewable Energy Central America and Caribbean Congress in Panama.
“It is expected that graduates of this master’s programme, which begins in May 2017, should grow our home base of sustainable energy and green economy sector researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs, fitting squarely into the green economy direction Jamaica is heading, and squarely into Government’s development agenda,” the minister said.
He told the congress that as a result of growing interest in the subject, 15.5 per cent of electricity was generated from renewables in 2016, and these new plants are expected to make even greater contributions in 2017.
“I believe the renewable energy bug has more than bitten Jamaica. I have visited many sites, schools and other public institutions that have been retrofitted with alternative energy solutions, such as LED lighting and PV (photovoltaic) systems,” Wheatley said.
In 2016 alone, some 80.0 megawatts of renewable energy generation were commissioned into service in Jamaica, comprising 60.0 megawatts of wind and a 20.0-megawatts solar power plant, he added.
He noted that, having successfully implemented three phases of wind farm solutions up to 63.2 megawatt capacity, the Wigton Windfarm commissioned into service its upgraded resource centre in November, with a modern renewable energy training laboratory, outfitted with working models.
He pointed out that Wigton has also instituted a ‘train the trainers’ programme, to ensure local sustainability for the development of renewable technologies, as it positions itself to serve as a premier renewable energy training facility for the region.
“In addition, I also granted a licence to Eight Rivers Energy Company for the build, own and operation of a 37.0 megawatt solar power plant to be commissioned in 2018, which will further contribute to the decreased dependence on the volatile fossil fuel,” he said.
Dr Wheatley said that between 2012 and 2016, Jamaica cut its importation of oil and, if this continues, the country will be able to save over US$1.7 billion by 2020.
Caribbean Leads Low Carbon Shipping Future
A new centre tasked with promoting technologies and operations to help navigate shipping into a low-carbon future was launched at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
The centre will cater to the needs of the Caribbean region under the Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Network (GMN) – a project funded by the European Union (EU) and run by International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The GMN initiative unites carefully selected technology centres into a global network focused on supporting developing countries in activities including development of national energy-efficiency policies for their maritime sectors.
Estimates suggest that ships’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 75% by applying operational measures and implementing existing technologies.
By collaborating with the 16 countries in the region and various forward-thinking institutions, companies and international bodies – the Caribbean centre aims to make its contribution to energy-efficient shipping.
The centre was unveiled by the Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education of Trinidad and Tobago, and, speaking at the launch event, the country’s Minister of Works and Transport, the Honourable Rohan Sinanan, endorsed the new initiative.
IMO was represented at the event by Stefan Micallef, Director of the Marine Environment Division, and GMN Project Manager – Tamar Barabadze. H.E. Mr. Arend Biesebroek, Ambassador of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago represented the EU.
The University of Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-campus facility that hosts specialized programmes dedicated to developmental disciplines including maritime capacity building, energy efficiency, environmental studies and marine research. MTCC-Caribbean will be situated within the Chaguaramas Campus which is in the North-Western Peninsula of Trinidad and Tobago.
This news comes after the IMO shared its involvement in the successful first phase completion of a project aimed at improving safety and environmental standards within Bangladesh’s ship-recycling industry.
Global Tech Giant Supports Antigua and Barbuda For ICT Week
Global technology giant Huawei has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the establishment of the Single ICT Space by participating in the CTU’s ICT Week and Symposium – Antigua and Barbuda, from March 21st to 24th, 2017.
“The establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single ICT Space is a complex undertaking, which presents many challenges, but with political will and commitment to drive the process, it can be accomplished.” Stated Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) Bernadette Lewis, during her presentation of the Roadmap for the CARICOM ICT Space. Ms. Lewis was addressing the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on February 17, 2017 in Georgetown, Guyana.
Huawei will present its Smart Caribbean Conference, to explain how new technologies can be effectively applied to improve the quality of citizens’ lives and provide ICT solutions for the challenges in education, healthcare and national security in the Single CARICOM ICT Space. Huawei’s conference is one of many activities of the Week, designed to raise awareness and educate on the single ICT Space and technologies that would make it a reality.
Mr. Che stated: “Globally, urbanization, digitization and recent global unrests have become the driving force for Safer and Smarter Nations. New technologies are reshaping the ICT infrastructure as security, social and economic risks have become a common problem on a global basis. Many countries are seeking ways to resolve these challenges by adapting the use of ICT. Many countries want to improve social and economic opportunities for their citizens and sustainably increase their GDP. Investing in ICT infrastructure can make that happen, however, the key successful factor for a Safer and Smarter Caribbean is Collaboration. We are happy to fully support, in any way we can, the Caribbean Governments’ commitment to the CARICOM Single ICT Space.”
As the platinum sponsor for this event, Huawei will use its extensive global knowledge and experience in developing Smart Cities to share its vision for developing ICT in the Caribbean region in all sectors. Participants will learn how cloud computing, virtualization, Big Data, Geographic Information System, the Internet of Things, and the ecosystem Software Development Kit and other cutting-edge technologies can be used to create comprehensive, end-to-end Smart Caribbean solutions.
The CTU is extending an invitation to Ministers of Finance, Education, ICT/Telecommunications Health, National Security, representatives from Caribbean Government ICT and Telecommunications sectors, Central Bank Governors, ICT and Finance Stakeholders, Executive representatives of Regional inter-governmental organizations, Civil Society and Academia.
The joint venture between the country’s government, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and PV Energy, and will generate around 229.9 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy per year. The country has committed to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.
Andre Matthias, Electricity Business Unit Manager of APUA, said: “Once again, the implementation of this significant renewable energy project emphasizes Antigua and Barbuda’s pioneering role in terms of becoming one of the greenest electricity sector in the whole of the Caribbean.”
The installation, which includes 600 photovoltaic modules, is expected to help avoid the emission of 160,860 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. The modules will cover an area of 2,000 square meters west of the island’s airport.
Matthias said: “The ground-mounted 150 kWp sun2live solar power generation solution on Barbuda will further minimize the government’s reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.” He added: “As the solar penetration increases to the anticipated 1 MWp, batteries would be phased in to assist with maintaining a very stable power system in Barbuda”
It’s the latest green project for Antigua and Barbuda, which is among the region’s leading advocates for renewable energy.
Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code Project To Be Launched In Jamaica
A Regional Project Team, established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code, among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.
The launch and the first face-to-face working meetings will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the Regional Project Team, which consists of 19 members.
The team is tasked with developing the Regional Code, as well as its associated application documents and minimum energy performance standards for buildings. To do so, the team will review the minimum energy performance standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the development of Minimum Energy Performance standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM member states.
The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by member states as a regional energy efficiency building code.
This development comes against the background of steps CARICOM has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.
Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms.
Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.
The Regional Code is expected to address all the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.
Disabled Caribbean Finds Freedom In Technology
Visually impaired Kerryn Gunness is excited about the possibilities offered by a new free app that would serve as his eyes and enable people like him to enjoy greater independence.
The Personal Universal Communicator (PUC) app is part of a new generation of cheaper assistive technologies making their way onto the market which allow people with disabilities to use technology that was formerly too expensive, but provided them with greater independence.
Gunness had the opportunity to do a test run of the app with its accompanying Internet-based Video Assistance Service (VAS) as part of a pilot project being launched by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), under the umbrella of its ICT for People with Disabilities initiative. Regional statistics suggest that about five per cent of the populations in the Caribbean have a disability.
With this app, Gunness said, “I am able to be independent, manage my affairs, feel comfortable just like my sighted peers.”
Consultant to the CTU, Trevor Prevatt, explained to IPS, “The service is a VAS. It is built on the capability of your smart phone. You have medication to take, you can call [the service’s] agent who will tell you ‘Okay, hold up the bottle’. You put your phone on it and the agent will be the eyes for the person.”
“If a hearing person wants to communicate with a deaf person, she calls the agent who will sign or text or transcribe what you are saying to the deaf person.”
Assistive technologies definitely make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, who would otherwise enjoy almost no independence, says Roseanna Tudor, Operations Manager at the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD). She described the cost of those technologies as “prohibitive”.
However, as communications technology continues to evolve, the CTU is seeking to harness the opportunities presented by this new generation of technology to increase the independence of people with disabilities.
“The technical revolution has precipitated convergence of formally distinct disciplines…if we are going to exploit the full potential of technology, we have to deal with all sectors of our national community….We want to ensure that our citizens are able to make effective use of technology to transform their lives. People with disabilities are part of that,” said CTU Secretary General, Bernadette Lewis.
For this reason, the CTU launched its series of ICT for People with Disabilities workshops, beginning in Jamaica in 2013, “to raise awareness of the ICT tools that are readily available for people with disabilities.”
Prevatt said, “The basis of the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS) is really a video relay service that has existed abroad for quite some time but it has been an expensive proposition; you needed proprietary equipment. The technology has changed so radically that you just download an app now and you access the service.”
Employment continues to present particular challenges for people with disabilities. The 2012 Social Panorama report, by Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean, states that while “The census data available for 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries show that type of disability has a considerable impact on the economic activity undertaken by persons with disabilities.”
Nevertheless, “In all cases, the percentage of persons aged 15 and over with one or more forms of disability who are economically active is much lower than the percentage for persons without any disabilities.”
Gunness thinks the CVAS would greatly enhance the job prospects of people with disabilities. “The service would put you on a par with your sighted counterparts. It would add and enhance what we are hoping for,” he said.
On the heels of International Women’s Day observed on Wednesday, preparations in parts of the region are being made for International Girls & Young Women in ICT Day, which will be observed on the 4th Thursay in April, which falls on the 27th this year.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) drive growth and innovation worldwide, infiltrating all aspects of our lives. These ongoing advances in ICTs effectively make digital literacy a prerequisite for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and are leading to a projected shortage of at least 2 million ICT employees worldwide by 2020. Studies show that not enough young people are choosing careers in ICT - especially not enough young women. Expanding the global technology talent pool to include more women with ICT skills can help fill this gap. This means investing in girls and young women today.
In the Caribbean, we are seeing a growing number of companies investing in the ICT sector. Businesses such as the Microsoft Innovation Centre provide technical services empowering people to become entrepreneurs. Global companies like Vistaprint (based in Jamaica) and several local and global BPO companies, provide jobs to support the growing global tech markets.
Importantly, women are pioneering new innovations in the region. This was most recently evidenced in the mobile app development competition at PitchIt Caribbean, where all top spots were swept by women mobile tech entrepreneurs. In 2016, the global startup award, at the US led Global Entrepreneurship Summit, was won by a Jamaican woman who founded digital media company, Listen Mi Caribbean. Vendedy, a unique platform created by a Haitian woman, allows informal artisan producers to sell to expanded markets, and was recognized by Forbes with numerous awards.
Last week we drew attention to the Jamaican Girls Coding group and plans are under way to coordinate activities across the region.
The Girls in ICT Day Caribbean activity, is designed as a REGIONAL 1-DAY HACKATHON to take place across multiple countries. Hackathons are an excellent way to give girls a taste of what can be done with technology. To engage girls’ interest, it is crucial that they not only hear about technology, but also use it. Girls will see for themselves that you don’t need to be a math wizard to code, or a science expert to programme a robot. In a hackathon team, girls will discover that technology is all about creativity, collaboration and, most importantly, a lot of fun!
The intent is to create a dynamic environment where girls can engage in direct hands-on activities, using ICT to create, innovate and generate a solution, supported by various technology tools. One activity will be selected by a team of girls, to find a solution to a challenge from their corporate sponsors, with technical on-site support, from designated mentors. A panel of judges from the local tech industry will select the winning team at the end of the day.
Jamaican Minister Wheatley Is Renewables Champion Of The Year
Jamaican Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), Dr Andrew Wheatley received the Central American and Caribbean Renewable Energy Congress (RECAM) 2017 Renewables Champion of the Year Award, earlier this week.
A news release from the ministry said that the minister, who delivered the keynote ministerial opening address at the second RECAM Congress in Panama City on Tuesday, was one of two nominees in this category. The other nominee was Faro Energy, a company focused on bringing “international capital and solar experience to emerging markets.”
Wheatley’s name, along with the other nominee’s, was submitted via an online survey and judged by international industry players.
The competition had five categories:
• Most Innovative Project of the Region;
• Best Community Initiative in the Region;
• Developer of the Year;
• Solution Provider/Supplier of the Year, and
• Renewables Champion of the Year
According to the RECAM website, the Renewables Champion of the Year award goes to, “the company or individual that has done the most to support, drive or assists the growth of the renewable energy industry in Central America and the Caribbean.”
In his brief acceptance response, Wheatley thanked the RECAM organisers and industry players for recognising “the advancements Jamaica has made in increasing its adoption of renewables into its energy mix.”
He specifically highlighted the role played by: BMR Jamaica Wind, WRB Energy, Wigton Wind Farm, Eight Rivers Energy Company Ltd and the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) “in supporting Jamaica on its journey to 30 in 30 (30 per cent of Jamaica’s electricity to be sourced from renewables by 2030).
The Congress, which closes today, has seen over 350 attendees – regional, senior renewable energy executives and policy makers – discussing green energy sector best practices, national policies, case studies in the field, and networking to facilitate and secure new contracts.
Fishers To Get Bad Weather Warning App
Fisherfolk in four Caribbean countries are shortly to be equipped with an early warning and emergency response tool in an effort to save their lives and property in circumstances of rough weather and sea conditions.
The mobile phone app is being developed by the ICT4Fisheries Consortium in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) under the Caribbean Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). It will work to reduce risks to fishers’ lives and livelihoods posed by climate change and climate variability.
Possible impacts of long-term climate change trends and short-term extreme weather events on Caribbean fisheries include damage to fishing and aquaculture community infrastructure — including roads, harbours, farms and houses caused by sea level rise and stronger storms — as well as unsafe fishing conditions and loss of life at sea as a result of strong storms and hurricanes, according to a 2015 study published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Other hazards influenced by climate, such as sargassum seaweed, are also of deep concern to fishers.
Using the app, fishers will be able to receive early warnings of risky weather and sea conditions. It will also be used to encourage fisherfolk to share their local knowledge to support and improve climate-smart fisheries planning, management and decision-making. The system will be integrated within existing national disaster risk management and emergency response frameworks, and its main focus will be on communications.
St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia are the four countries in which the early warning system will be developed. The system will take into account the specific situations of target countries.
“ICT4Fisheries will not only develop and deploy the tools but will also provide training in their use and administration to country- and regional-level stakeholders,” the stakeholders said in a statement. The system should be in place by 2018.