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Lowe: Going green not easy

marciadottin, [email protected]

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IF BARBADOS is to become a green economy, it must first overcome the fear of change.Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe said there was resistance to change in both the private and public sector.“Government’s recent efforts to pursue a green economy has come with all sorts of growing pains. [It involves] a shift in thinking and in how we do business, and there are some risks people are unwilling to take,” he said.Lowe was responding to Ralph “Bizzy” Williams’ comment that Government was dragging its feet concerning putting regulations in place for alternative energy.They were speaking during the discussion portion of the launch of the 2010 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report yesterday at UN House, Marine Gardens, Christ Church.Lowe said Barbados had a “scared population” where wind turbines were concerned and it was not simply a matter of Government being unwilling. However, he admitted there was some reluctance within the public sector.“Before we can convince the population, first Government has to convince itself,” he said, adding that some Government buildings were all but uninhabitable and did not even have a potted plant placed inside.“We definitely appreciate the enthusiasm and we want to create an audience where we can all benefit. For too long we’ve been talking at each other, it’s time we talk with each other,” he said.Permanent secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Lionel Weekes, said more had to be done with solar energy than heating water.“The solar industry has done well but it needs to move another step. We need to move in the direction of powering entire households with solar energy and the opportunity exists for Government to look at expanding solar energy applications to a wider area,” he said.Weekes also spoke on the US $250 000 six month scoping study which starts in September. He said the aim of the study was to gain insight into how to pursue a green economy in Barbados.“Yesterday [Thursday] we met with principal of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles, and he has committed resources to work with the governmental and international teams involved with the study,” he said.Weekes said they were approached by experts in the UN Environmental Programme and a steering committee was established involving personnel from the ministries of agriculture; tourism; transport and housing; “cross cutting” water, waste and energy.He said they would be working with both the public and private sector with representatives from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados; the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others.Weekes said they would be taking the results of the study to an international conference in either April or May next year to share with CARICOM and see what other countries were doing. (CA)