Connolly presses CIG to act on energy policy

| 17/05/2016 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Winston Connolly in the LA, 5 May 2016

(CNS): Government has accepted a motion presented by the opposition MLA for George Town, Winston Connolly, to consider legislating a new energy policy to meet global standards on sustainable development and climate change, but it doesn’t appear likely to happen anytime soon. Despite a passionate debate by the former government backbencher about the desperate need for Cayman to reduce its dependence on diesel, the minister with responsibility said a committee to examine an energy policy had not yet been established.

As he spoke about his proposals during the recent LA meeting, Connolly warned his colleagues about the dangers of climate change and the rise in sea levels for a small island nation such as ours. He offered a list of ways government could make a difference to the current situation in Cayman, where renewable energy and sustainability are still not taken seriously.

On Monday, the US National Atmospheric Space Administration (NASA) released the latest record breaking temperature statistics that some scientists are now calling a climate emergency.

Grand Cayman’s over-development along its coastline and the destruction of significant amounts of mangroves have made the island particularly vulnerable to further and more rapid coastal erosion but successive governments have failed to prioritise the environment and have habitually placed development ahead of conservation. No government has yet legislated a definitive plan to embrace alternative energy or sustainable development policies that could reduce the country’s vulnerability to rising seas.

“We have to be concerned about extreme weather and rising sea levels caused by climate change,” Connolly told his fellow MLAs. “As a low-lying island, we are going to be affected long before the big polluters are.”

In his debate, Connolly said Cayman must reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and it could start by putting solar panels on the roofs or car parks of government buildings, installing them in the homes of families on low incomes, making more use of natural gas and encouraging the use of electric cars by cutting the duty on them.

As well as meeting the islands’ obligations to reach what many scientists believe are the modest goals agreed at the recent climate summit in Paris, Connolly urged his colleagues to support a push in Cayman towards solar power and to train Caymanians to work in the alternative energy sector.

Criticising Grand Cayman’s current monopoly power provider, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), for poor grid management, Connolly said the technology had changed and CUC needed to keep up. According to experts, he said, the grid could handle much more renewable energy.

However, the MLA said he did not believe the utility companies would do anything on their own and government had to act. When people are forced to choose between paying a mortgage or their power bill, electricity had reached the point where it was too expensive and it was time to convert to a low carbon environment, he said.

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts welcomed Connolly’s motion and said government was “near to the point of getting a committee up and running”. He said a consultant had recently been engaged to work on the creation of a utilities commission.

Referring to the proposal for an energy policy put forward by the last administration, which had not been acted on, Tibbetts claimed that it was not gathering dust but needed to be reviewed. There were also problems sewn into government’s agreement with CUC over increasing alternative energy, he said, noting that any review committee would have to consider that deal and make specific recommendations for a long-term sustainable plan.

Tibbetts said that Cayman had written to the creators of the regional climate project the Ten Island Challenge, which began some two years ago, enquiring about becoming involved.

However, he said, there were difficulties putting solar panels on the roof of the Government Administration Building due to “legal issues”, which he did not detail, about the building and it was not yet “signed off”.

Admitting that the current government had been slow over the issue of developing an energy policy, Tibbetts said, “It’s not where we should be three years into the administration.” But there were “a lot of issues to consider”, he added, as a he spoke about needing to get everyone to agree on how to provide solar power for low income households.

Motion by Winston Connolly to Establish a National Energy Policy, May 2016

Watch the debate on GovTV below:

Ten Island Challenge video:

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Category: Land Habitat, Laws, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see somebody in Government actually care about the environment and people of this island for once but as usual, he is up against a wall of greed and self interests from the opposition. Thank you for your efforts Winston. Please don’t give up, there are a lot of people who are grateful to you and stand behind what you are trying to do.

  2. Sharkey says:

    I think that if Kurt Tibbetts started looking at the overall picture of the Islands situation he would see what Connolly is trying to accomplish for the Islands and the people. But greed and self intrest would not allow that to happen.

    I think that what everyone should do come next election is to give him a copy of your high electric bill instead of your vote .

  3. Anonymous says:

    As I have said so many times previously, other countries are doing everything they can to get themselves into a more sustainable position by getting solar panels, wind energy etc in place. There is a focus on development with sustainability in mind.

    But as usual, in Cayman we go the other direction by bulldozing down everything we can, give way to let developers do whatever they please and become more and more dependent on fossil fuel rather than becoming more sensible!

    Just look at our roads and beaches lined with litter, the ever growing dump and all the animals tied up around the Island without and shelter, shade, food or water……..that’s what Cayman is all about these days. Nobody gives a shit!

  4. Allar says:

    Kurt is really useless everything he hasvto get an expert advise on. I bet that if he was struggling to pay his bills like most of us are he would stop his usual procrastination bull sh*t and get something done all he do is to get a big salary for doing nothing

    • Rundown says:

      I bet he don’t need no consultant to season turtle or beef though.

      Must be nice to collect salary and pension and have time to work on your hobby.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We on a small island are not going to be any significant measure on global warming in the world. But it would be good to bring down prices on cost of living. Especially on elect bills. There was a new invention created in Jamaica where you can run a gas engine on water. Using electrolysis , $800 per unit stick it in your trunk and place tube into engine intake of gas line and voila you’re making hydrogen. That is something anyone coming back from Jamaica can bring along with their luggage. $20 per cartridge good for 600 miles and your fuel bill will go down to 400 per year.
    If we are expecting that sea level rise is coming then we should be changing the planning laws so that no one builds a house less then 10 ft above the ground.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great, please carry on encouraging people to bring back explosive materials on ‘planes…jeez…what kind of idiot are you?

      • Jotnar says:

        Well, he’s not the kind of idiot that thinks a machine capable of making hydrogen by electrolysis is explosive when its not actually making hydrogen, but he is the kind of idiot that thinks that you can buy a machine for $800 that will make hydrogen so efficiently that it is not only cheaper to run than a gas engine, but apparently fuels itself and can be directly plugged into an internal combustion engine without any need to adjust the engine to run on hydrogen rather (and, moreover, a device completely overlooked by the worlds automotive manufacturers). He should contact me immediately – I have a clever device that converts base metals into gold that he can use to finance this purchase of this wonderful machine.

  6. Gerry Mandering-Pandering says:

    Dear Winston, Please press CIG to act on the permanent residency applications sitting waiting….waiting…..waiting.

    It’s the Cayman Islands’ law. Follow it!

  7. Mel McCoy says:

    Kurt we have been Electing you for Years! Fuel Prices, Energy Policies do not need Consultants.It needs the Kurt that fools the Public every election, after the votes are in
    back to the bar he goes, easy money excellent retirement plan.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Too many MLAs with shares in CUC?

  9. Anonymous says:

    If we do not start building sea walls soon there will be no Cayman left and none of this will matter…

  10. Anonymous says:

    “near to the point of getting a committee up and running”…”legal issues”…”hasn’t been signed off”, said the conflicted kleptocrat on behalf of his crony fuel barons and dealership owners.

  11. Anonymous says:

    All that hot air in the chamber. Just going to waste. Shame, shame, shame.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This just doesn’t matter because there is nothing Cayman can do to affect global warming. The bad thing is that it uses up time and energy that could be applied to the immediate problems like the dump and the cost of living.

    • kzrr says:

      Not what Cayman can do for the globe, but what the Globe or a “Global policy”, can do to it’s “Global citizens” there is the possibility for them all to be forced to pay “Global taxes” based on Climate Change. Possibly putting a price on emissions and the air that we breath to live.

    • Anonymous says:

      what small minded nonsense…..

    • Beaumont says:

      exactly. Discussions presume that we can affect local sea levels to the disdain of the global ones. ….. and that’s IF the plethora of fraudulent IPCC data is vetted.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are missing a huge point here.
      Being less dependant on oil and using free alternatives are the bonuses here. How do you not see that or did I miss your point..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Private Members Motions are not worth the paper they are written on to this ppm government

  14. Anonymous says:

    issues like climate change are lost on caymankind…..and especially the do-nothing ppm

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Tibbetts, my guess is that government is near the point of getting a committee up and running, will be as successful as the solution for Iguanas and the lower gas prices that would happen in 2016. You are a big joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      please note that the white paper was prepared in 2010 the PPM government came in in 2013. So the UDP also did nothing. Please stop your stupidness on pilitics,

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