Connolly takes up torch for energy debate

| 14/05/2015 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Winston Connolly, Fifth Elected Member for George Town

(CNS): In the absence of any formal public debate regarding the development of a national energy policy, reducing costs and adopting more sustainable and alternative energy measures, government backbencher Winston Connolly is organizing a public summit on the matter for next month. While the responsibility for energy policy lies with cabinet minister for planning, Kurt Tibbetts, the Coalition for Cayman member said the “debate wasn’t being had”.

He told CNS he felt it was his “personal responsibility to bring it to the attention of the Cayman people” and open up the discussion so the public can make up their own minds.

“I don’t want to put my own position forward as it is irrelevant at this stage,” the MLA said, despite positioning himself to carry the torch for the persistently overlooked topic. “Let’s listen to the stakeholders and experts first before we make up our minds. It won’t be political and that’s why I want to have a moderator there. It’s simply an information session that I hope will benefit the country in the end.”

The issue is arguably one of the most neglected ones in local politics, and while the current ministry and government by and large still seems eons away from cutting the islands’ dependency on diesel in any meaningful way, the broader public is beginning to demand a change as they recognize the myriad problems with the current situation in relation to how we generate power in Cayman.

Connolly said, “I am interested in reducing the costs our people pay for energy and looking at environmental and other reasons for some alternative sources of energy. I am not involved in the policy making aspect and felt that I would not be conflicted. But it is also an avenue for the politicians and policy makers to hear the people. I have invited the minister or his representative to be there as well as the Department of Environment.”

Planned for June, the MLA, who supports his C4C colleague Tara Rivers as a counsellor in her employment and education ministry and has no official connection to energy, said he wanted to create a forum for debate and not necessarily present his views.

He said the Cayman Islands Energy Summit 2015 would be a panel discussion among stakeholders. Items on the agenda would be plans for a government energy policy, CUC’s energy plans and 10 year targets, community buy-in for energy transition, community energy projects, international best practice in developing renewables and unique issues to address in Cayman.

Connolly described it as an “opportunity to bring together key stakeholders from across the energy sector and those who want to interact with the experts to discuss how the contribution from renewable energy can be maximized and implemented most effectively in the Cayman Islands as well as to have the key stakeholders tell us what their vision for the future of energy in the Cayman Islands is.”

Stakeholders will speak for twenty minutes each and state their current and future positions and then there will be an hour for people to ask questions. There will also be a moderator to manage time and the panel.

“I want to start the long overdue dialogue and have all the stakeholders in the same room,” Connolly stated. “Hopefully, attendees will benefit by hearing the Cayman Islands Government’s perspective and policy for the renewable energy sector, gain an international perspective, look beyond diesel and solar, discuss issues around social/government acceptance of renewable energy projects and learn how we can reduce total energy costs.”

The Cayman Islands Energy Summit 2015 is scheduled for 4 June from 6pm to 9pm at the town hall in George Town, and the public is invited to what could prove to be a lively event.

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Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Translation: I didn’t offer damn thing except jumping on the same old bandwagon of trashing fossil fuel with a bunch of meaningless pap….. Unless you are talking micro nuclear energy, there isn’t a single viable alternative to diesel today. Period. You can cover the entire island with all the solar panels you want and wind mills “it doesn’t even come close”. Its so tiring to watch these caricatures BS about energy, and reading absolutely nothing. Typical non leadership.. why don’t we try to improve our use of the current energy that DOES work currently and that we ACTUALLY consume TODAY and pay for…. Reduce cost, improve supply with South America perhaps.. get more fuel efficient generators, or consider micro nuclear (good luck with that one)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Winston, don’t listen to the nay sayers. Those who wanted the financial gain didn’t want slavery abolished either, but, it was still the right thing to do. We need representatives like you who want our people to have equal opportunity and limitless potential to support themselves and their families rather than be manipulated by, and dependent on, handouts.
    Unfortunately, some of our people have not realized yet that as long as you are dependent on people to pay your bills when and if they feel like, you are a slave for and totally dependent on the person paying.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Winston, as a GT voter, listening to your proposal about term limits and then this, I am so disappointed in you personally. Had high hopes. Not to be rude, please sit down and shut up. You only have two years to go, we not voting back in, bring a motion like fly more flags, but please enough, what a another wasted vote I casted.

  4. Jonas says:

    Government has had a policy since 2013 tabled in the Assembly, no one pays any mind to it. Business people on Island have been trying to get Alternative energy introduced but have been suffering a lot of set backs, due to planning restrictions especially. . Rooster had a panel discussion on Solar this week, where two Solar entities vented their frustration and expounded on the worldwide push for dollar, and of Governments ERA ineptitude and vacillation in this regards. And now; the Councillor who recently gave us the motion for a law not to give hand outs to poor people, is charging full ahead with an Energy a Summit. Well it seems that there are some orchestrated forces at work, are they for the good of country,can you see foresee or is it just my imagination running away with me.

  5. Big Brown says:

    As the owner of a recycling company Mr. Connolly has a direct interest in waste to energy. While I applaud the initiative and welcome the discussion don’t try to fool us that you have no interest in energy, Sir and that you are not trying to influence policy to your own advantage.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s had two years and done nothing but of course now they are in full campaign mode again! Always a day late and a dollar short! We are only fools for how we vote!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry but that is absolute crap. What on earth is the connection between a small recycling company that exports our waste and a roundtable about national energy policy? Some people are determined to peddle conspiracy theories at every available opportunity.

      Winston is a man of irreproachable integrity and you, Big Brown, whoever you are, are nothing but a cynical sh*t-stirrer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why can’t Winston peddle something that is actually useful to Caymanians like the creation of more jobs rather than a project from which he will ikely benefit? And what is this about a bill he proposes against a handout for your fellow man? If some politicians are too cheap to help out a person in need then why vote for him at all if that is his mindset? Jeez!

        • Anonymous says:

          Too cheap to help out a person in need??? Really? This sense of entitlement is Caymans main problem.. its not up to WC to dip his hand in his pocket every time someone comes begging. Why would you think it is? You have an appalling attitude – really!

        • Anonymous says:

          So you would only vote for a politician that gives you money?

      • Anonymous says:

        I am amazed every time I read a comment like this.
        Typical caymanian naivety.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ridiculous. If you’re concerned, send your metal to the other guy. How is owning a recycling company a bad thing?

    • Anonymous says:

      I bet the trip his people took to the brac to promote recycling via JUNK was at the expense of the tax payer free airline tickets,
      Their is nothing wrong with recycling companies but his operation is not set up to make a profit via waste he collects but thru charging the customer to take away the material as well as begging for handouts
      This is a fact that his operation cannot be self sustaining by itself. I wonder if he gets his port fees reduced unlike the real recycling companies that pay top dollar in shipping costs and port fees.
      I bet he is looking for a big contract in the future from Govt.
      all that said his collections at fosters is doing more harm than good sitting around stinking for days and being overrun with rats at night

    • Anonymous says:

      How can you applaud the initiative and welcome the discussion but try to kill the messenger??

  6. Sam Putt Putt says:

    The Cayman Islands has a National Energy Policy. It was tabled by the then Pemier Juliana in March 2013.

    • … and it makes for interesting reading. Anyone want a copy?

    • anon649 says:

      There is no national energy policy in effect. The entire process to develop the policy was a farce and was simply an exercise to fool the public into thinking the government was actually interested. As is almost always the case, a few big “players” hijacked the original recommendations such that the policy that was presented to the government at the time was far different than the recommendations that where submitted by the subcommittees involved in developing the policy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sure that wasnt the National Paving Policy?

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