Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness

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Start planning for the life after the oil and gas industry.

This was the call of Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, during his feature address at the Energy Conference.

Despite recent promising finds in both his country and Guyana, President Santokhi stressed that plans for Energy transition should be given greater focus.

” Because it cannot be a be as business as usual. Even though the short-term benefits of oil and gas are going to be significant for our economy. Ultimately it is not about the value we generate in terms of oil and gas but more importantly what we do with the generated routes and how we apply it to create sustainable economies for the current, and next generations,” said Santokhi.

He added that while the recent discoveries promise much, it was important that proper planning is implemented to ensure economies remain strong when demand for oil and gas dips or the resources begin to wane.

“It places obligation on us, as leaders to design a natural resource management strategy that will capture that wealth to re-engineer our societies and economies. It is on us to secure safe, accountable and transparent management of these resources towards the future and requires us to think now about the post oil and gas wealth bonanza. And this is where the energy transition comes into play,” he said.

The Suriname President said while oil and gas still stood strong currently in the energy industry, there were already signs that other sources of energy were on the rise.

“Oil and gas will still be relevant for the coming decades in terms of energy generation. But there will be a steady decline over time. We need to prepare ourselves for this future. We must now already design our approach to this new wealth, for a post oil and gas period. As the demand will decline and the focus will increase on alternative and renewable forms of energy generation, we will need to start transitioning,” he said.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address, also spoke on the need to diversify the region’s energy generation.

“I would like to submit that alongside existing priority, responses to the pandemic, now is the time to scale up actions to achieve our renewable energy goals to pursue universal, access to electricity and to modernize and transform the energy sector,” he said.

Holness called for the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank among others to allow for investment in clean energy projects as he announced Jamaica had set targets to achieve ” 320 megawatts of solar and or wind 120, megawatts of LNG and 74 megawatts of Hydro-waste to energy and or biomass “

The Jamaican Prime Minister also noted 2020 had been a major year in the development and use of electric cars, further stressing the need for transition.

” 2020 was a tipping point for electric vehicles globally. The world is in the fast lane to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, which is understandable as road transport. … We continue to lay the foundation for an electro-mobility environment. We have established an electric vehicle Council to oversee a consultative process on the introduction of electro-mobility,” he said.