Solar project above board

MInister Lowe noted that the budget covered environmental sustainability which is part of the mandate for his ministry.  The Issue of renewable energy is what the government promised in restructuring the economy by giving rise to sustainable industries.  The renewable energy sector is one of the most promising sectors in Barbados.

 

In referring to the reply to the budget offered by the Leader of the Opposition, the minister said that he sat in horror hearing the Leader of the Opposition trying to black eye the destroyed the Deltro project.  She said it was another Cahill and will contaminate the water supply in Waterford.

To dismiss the fear and rumor mongering which was started by the opposition leader in connection to the project; The Minister of the Environment provided the house with details on the project.

The project is a proposal to built a 20 mw solar farm at Waterford.  The area at Waterford which is over 200 acres was identified for a botanical garden on 50 acres.  The solar farm would utilize some 60 acres of the available 200 acres.  This he said dismissed the claim by the leader of the opposition that the solar farm would affect the planned botanical garden.

 

He further noted that a previous Barbados Labour Party minister of the environment had said that the Waterford land is an ideal area where renewable projects can be built.  He noted that he was alarmed by the change in the position of the Barbados Labour Party now.

He also provided an explanation for why the farmer who had cows on the land was recited and stated that the ministry provided assistance and alternative land to the farmer.

The 60 acres for the Deltro project is just about a small portion of the total land available at Waterford.  When the land is taken out for the solar project and the botanical gardens there will still be another 100 acres of land available.

The Minister further assured Barbadians that the project had been submitted to town and country planning for approval and to other regulatory agencies for the necessary approval.

 

 

Stop undermining investment!

Minister of Industry and Commerce, The Hon. Donville Inniss, cautioned the Opposition on their constant efforts to undermine investment in the Barbados economy.  He cried down the many attacks of the opposition on potential investors and their attempts to make it seem that Barbados is not a properly regulated business jurisdiction.  He said this can run away potential investors, white, black, Indian, Chinese, local, from the region or international investors.

Minister Inniss took issue with the many attacks leveled by the Leader of the Opposition and other members of BLP opposition against the private sector Hyatt hotel project.  This project which has as one of its major investors, Businessman Mark Maloney, came under heavy criticism by the opposition. They alleged that the project did not have town and country planning permission, and that it being a 15 story high rise hotel ran the risk of affecting the UNESCO Heritage inscription of the HIstoric Bridgetown and its Garrison.

 

However, Minister Inniss categorically rejected these misleading accusations as being without merit.  He informed the House of Assembly in his contribution to the 2016 budget that the Hyatt project has undergone significant regulatory assessments including and assessment on its impact on the heritage inscription.    Environmental impact assessments were also conducted and plans were submitted to town planning for approval to which conditional approval was given and the developers are responding to the terms of the conditional approval.

The minister of commerce and industry warned that these attempts by the opposition to give the impression that Barbados is not a properly regulated business  jurisdiction will harm the reputation of the country.  It is simply not true and the opposition should stop practicing their scorch earth politics.

 

Investments such as the Hyatt Hotel can provide close to 500 jobs to people of Barbados.  it is not only an opportunity for the investor but for small businesses which can also benefit from providing meals to workers during the construction period.  The project will also bring life and other investment to the city.

National Social Responsibility Levy Necessary

John Boyce budget 2016 newQuoting from the reviews of the budgetary proposals published by accounting firms in Barbados , Minister John Boyce noted that in relation to the National Social Responsibility Levy that the reviews indicated that, “…while this measure is most likely to be unpopular its imposition may be justified to address certain important social objectives.”  He further stated that this speaks to the success of the engagement of the people of Barbados on the question of financing of health care for Barbados which was carried out by the Ministry of Health.  Minister Boyce stated that, “as we contemplate a permanent solution of a health insurance fund it (the levy) allows that extra injection of capital directly into the health care sector but into other social programmes such as sanitation and social care.”

The Minister noted that the opposition were invited to the discussion on healthcare financing which were organised by the Ministry of Health.  With the exception of the MP for St. Thomas there was hardly any participation by the opposition in the discussions.  It got even worse, he said, after they expelled the MP for Christ Church West.  He scolded the opposition on their repeated calls for opportunities to be involved in decision makings however they do not participate when invited.

The Minister informed that Barbados is being lauded by the World Health Organisation for its ability to implement the tax on sweeten beverages.  To the extent that Barbados has been invited to make a presentation to China on the implementation of the policy.  This initiative was criticized by the member for the City who argued that the tax only served to make these beverages more expensive for persons who could only afford to use the these kind of beverages. However, the Minister further supported the tax as it will help Barbados to fight the battle with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension which affect the population and cost the healthcare millions of dollars annually.

In concluding his presentation Minister Boyce assured the people of Barbados that, “the Money which we expect from the levy will be carefully utilized to make sure that we keep the QEH in a condition that it can continue to deliver quality service to Barbados.”

 

 

 

Support for the Student Revolving Loan Fund

In the 2016 Budgetary Proposals presented in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, the Minister of Finance advised the country of solution to provide short term assistance to the student revolving loan scheme.  This solution involves the utilization of funds from the National Insurance Training Fund.

The Student Revolving Loan Fund applied for a funds through a facility provided by the Caribbean Development Bank to capitalize the fund.  Due to unexpected delays in accessing the funding from the CDB the funds will not be available in time to meet the need of students who will be starting their academic programmes in September.  To avoid disadvantaging these students a short-term solution was devised where funds from the National Insurance Training fund which are currently not being utilized will be loaned to the Student Revolving loan fund through a Treasury Bill.  This Treasury bill will then be redeemed when the expected funding from the CDB is received.

This measure shows the commitment of the Democratic Labour Party government to the youth and people of Barbados.  We will always maintain our commitment to the education of our people.

This problem solving measure was criticized by the Opposition.  This further highlights their inability to find workable solutions for any problems facing Barbados.  Whereas it has been the ethos of the Democratic Labour Party to carefully study any problems and challenges which the country faces and devise the most efficient and prudent solution.     Given the urgency of the situation the utilization of these funds in this manner seems like a solution which would not hurt the NIS, the people of Barbados or cause any social or economic fall out.  Rather it would allow young Barbadian students to move on to realize their dreams, goals and aspirations.