Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
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Robertson defends energy policy
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter


MINING AND Energy Minister James Robertson on Wednesday brushed aside suggestions by his opposition counterpart, Phillip Paulwell, that the country's energy policy was in limbo.

Robertson announced that a revamped policy would be presented to Cabinet later this month for review. In addition, a draft carbon-emission trading policy was now ready for public consultation while a renewable energy policy was set for completion by May next year, he said.

Robertson said his ministry would also unveil a biofuel policy by March 2010.

During his presentation to the Sectoral Debate more than a week ago, Paulwell charged that the previous administration had crafted an energy Green Paper, but the present Government had failed to advance the draft policy.

However, the minister said the Government had moved beyond the 2006 Green Paper presented by the People's National Party administration.

Energy development

"The inherited document did not sufficiently respond to the country's energy development needs," Robertson said during his presentation in Gordon House last Wednesday.

According to the energy minister, the Golding administration had taken the next step and developed a document which "more properly" responded to the needs of the country's energy development.

Turning to the controversial Cuban energy-saving light-bulb programme, Robertson told his parliamentary colleagues that the Government was actively pursuing the resumption of the initiative.

Robertson said his ministry had designed a monitored programme for instal-ling some of these bulbs in government agencies and departments over the next two months.

The energy minister said he was in discussion with the Social Development Com-mission, the National Youth Service, Youth Minister Olivia Grange and Education Minister Andrew Holness to explore inexpensive avenues for delivering the project.

Moving to the affairs of Petrojam, Robertson said the $7.7-billion loss racked up by the state-owned oil refinery was due to a number of factors.

According to him, those factors included the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, marketing and other expenses linked to the introduction of E-10 petrol and the accounting methodology used in the petroleum sector.


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