Above: Dr Devon Gardner
By the Caribbean Journal staff
It’s time for a regional dialogue on energy, according to Dr Devon Gardner, programme manager in energy at the CARICOM Secretariat.
Gardner, who was speaking at the recent CARICOM Energy Week launch in St Vincent and the Grenadines, said there was “urgent need for dialogue that identifies the commitments and the steps that are necessary for developing a framework for regional trade in energy.”
The issue is that the existing trade framework is focused on market access for goods and services, and is not designed to tackle energy trade and investments, he said.
“The framework should be comprehensive, dealing with trade in multiple energy supplies: oil, gas, solid and liquid bio-fuels, as well as electricity,” he said.
By establishing such a framework, Gardner said, it would “have the effect of decreasing dependence on extra-Regional supplies, which would strengthen Regional energy security and “deepen the CARICOM integration process through the treatment of energy resources – both conventional and renewable – in individual Member States, as a Regional good.”
Indeed, he pointed out, the largest inhibitor to sustainable growth in much of CARICOM is the “unpredictable and mostly high cost of imported fuels on which Member States [are] almost completely dependent,” he said.