Alternative energy sources, the progress of regional integration and the ongoing economic crisis were among the areas discussed when New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister of Sport and Recreation, Murray McCully, paid a recent courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.
During the discussion at the Ministry on Culloden Road, St. Michael, McClean gave an update on the progress of the regional integration movement and the areas for which each country head was responsible.
“Barbados is responsible for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and, therefore, I think what we have done as a country is to commit ourselves to the several mechanisms within CARICOM. The CSME is a major focal point in relation to our existence as members of CARICOM,” she explained.
She also mentioned the island’s involvement in the Caribbean Court of Justice and pointed out that “if we are talking about economic advancement, we have to look at all the related mechanisms”.
McClean also outlined the island’s renewable energy thrust in light of the huge sums spent on fossil fuels. She noted that more money was spent on fuel importation than on health and education.
“The Government is pursuing a programme of encouragement of the use of renewable energy and the Government has also taken a decision to lead by example. The legislation that we are about to put in place to support a number of incentives offered would encourage the private sector to do likewise.
“We also have a number of Government projects such as waste-to-energy, wind energy as well as solar energy. So, we have spent more than three decades successfully using solar energy for water heating but unfortunately, the entrepreneurs in that sector did not move [in the direction] of generating electricity which is now becoming more efficient,” the minister stated.
In turn, McCully said New Zealand had a long history in the utilisation of hydro power and disclosed that 74 per cent of its electricity supply was generated from this source. He also said that wind, as an alternative energy source, was also being utilised.
McClean said there was scope for the two countries to collaborate on this issue.
Barbados and New Zealand established diplomatic ties on July 4, 1974.