Strategic financing, better partnerships needed to move Region’s energy transition

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The transition to a mix of energy systems from regional electricity grids that are based solely on fossil fuels requires major strategic financing, according to bankers and energy officials.

Finance was as a key topic of discussion at the Fifth Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF V) held in The Bahamas in 23-25 January, 2017, under the theme ‘Future Energy 2027′, with key figures calling for appropriate means of funding energy transition.

One of the main objectives of the Forum was to propose actions to support the ability of Member States to attract the right type of capital that is capable of delivering sufficient financing for sustainable energy deployment. During one of the panel discussions on the final day of the energy forum, participants explored the structure and level of funding, and the kinds of partnerships required to move energy transition along. There was a clear call for more private sector involvement and for a special component at the next Energy Forum that would focus on engagement with the business community to shape the culture that has to evolve to attract investment.

Financial viability, technical assistance and capacity-building, transparent procurement systems and absorptive capacity, were among the matters that participants felt were critical to attracting the kind of investment in energy in the Region. (more…)

Stakeholders want CARICOM Heads of Government to meet on energy

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CSEF V Panellits during the final discussion
CSEF V panelists during the final discussion

Participants at a recently concluded high level forum want energy to be placed squarely before the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government to generate speedier action and firmer commitments to the transition to renewables.

The general thinking at the Fifth Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF V) held from 23 – 25 January, 2017, in The Bahamas, was that while there is steady progress, the challenges of transitioning to clean energy can be solved if they are placed in a political context. This is against the background of the promotion of sustainable energy as the vehicle through which CARICOM Member States will become economically competitive and advance the human services that are required for an acceptable quality of life. The bottom line is the availability of more reliable energy and the ability of citizens of the Community to enjoy cleaner energy, hence the need for political attention.

Over two days at the British Colonial Hilton, Nassau, The Bahamas, several panels featuring government Ministers and some of the biggest names in the regional energy field discussed a range of issues pertinent to the Community’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Discussions centred on the CARICOM Energy Policy (CEP) and the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) and regulatory matters; building a culture of effective statistics and information management; funding the transition; and identifying knowledge, skills and quality requirements. (more…)

CTU transforming lives of people with disabilities

A section of the audience at the demonstration of the Caribbean Video Assistance Service
A section of the audience at the demonstration of the Caribbean Video Assistance Service

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), made a call for strong collaboration among stakeholders to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower people with disabilities (PWDs). Ms Lewis said that “it requires the involvement of Governments, People with disabilities and the Organisations that serve them, ICT Service Providers, Network Operators, Regulators and the support of corporate citizens, with whom the CTU is prepared to facilitate.”

Ms. Lewis was speaking at the demonstration of the features of the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS), which enables the deaf not only to call each other and communicate directly, but also to speak with agents (trained sign language interpreters) who relay conversations between them and hearing parties.

The proposed CVAS is a collaboration between the CTU and VTC Secure that uses a technological platform to facilitate communication, without expensive equipment, via an individual’s smart phone, computer or wireless device from virtually anywhere.  VTC Secure is a global company that provides secure On-Demand, Video, Voice & Text Call Center Services.

From left: Mr. Selby Wilson, CTU Telecommunications Strategist, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU, Mr. Bryan Rodrigues and Mr. Kerryn Gunness, deaf and partially blind facilitators of the CTU's ICT for People with Disabilities (ICT4PWDs) Workshops, Mr. Trevor Prevatt, CTU Consultant, and Ms. Kimone Elvin, Deaf participant.
From left: Mr. Selby Wilson, CTU Telecommunications Strategist, Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU, Mr. Bryan Rodrigues and Mr. Kerryn Gunness, deaf and partially blind facilitators of the CTU’s ICT for People with Disabilities (ICT4PWDs) Workshops, Mr. Trevor Prevatt, CTU Consultant, and Ms. Kimone Elvin, Deaf participant.

Caribbean Telecommunications Union
The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to supporting the development of the Caribbean information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. It is a CARICOM Institution. Its Member States are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos and Trinidad and Tobago.
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CXC e-testing begins

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) reported success as it officially launched its Electronic Testing Service to the region yesterday.

Some 500 candidates from seven countries – Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, St Lucia and Montserrat and St Lucia – tested the online initiative which allowed students to use a computer or an electronic device to sit their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Paper 1 (Multiple Choice) examination in more than 12 subjects.

Education Minister Ronald Jones gave thumbs up to the initiative which CXC said “would bring regional learners up to speed with worldwide test-taking practices and provide them with the flexibility to interact with images, video, audio and other resources during their examinations”.

Read more at: Barbados Today

CCJ debuts Electronic Court Management System

CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago
CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago

CCJ, Port of Spain – President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron, has been a fervent advocate for greater use of technology within regional judiciaries. In January 2017, this drive was enhanced by the implementation of a bespoke electronic court management software suite called Curia which includes an electronic filing platform, also referred to as e-Filing. The court issued a practice direction which took effect on 10 January when the Court term opened for 2017.

“Technological solutions will enable the CCJ, and courts in the region, to be more efficient and responsive. At the CCJ this process started some time ago when it introduced filing by email in 2013. The transition to e-Filing, which the new court management software facilitates, is a logical progression that allows litigants to file documents online and therefore enhances access to the Court and ultimately enables greater access to justice.” the CCJ President said. Sir Dennis noted that, since inception, technology has been successfully integrated into the operations of the CCJ.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
The CCJ was inaugurated on 16 April, 2005 in Trinidad and Tobago where it is headquartered. Its central role is providing legal certainty to the operations of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It is structured to have two jurisdictions – an original and an appellate. In its original jurisdiction it ensures uniform interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, thereby underpinning and advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As the final court of appeal for Member States of the Caribbean Community it fosters the development of an indigenous Caribbean jurisprudence
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