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Okra

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits of Okra (ochro)

  Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients. Nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half cup of cooked okra.

These suggestions may be more palatable …
toss okra in oil and grill for about 10 min till blackened and crunchy
add diced tomatoes
The acid in the tomatoes cuts the slime of okra
*ochro - okra 2 - Copy**********
chop onion
trim and slice okra
butter in skillet (I guess can use EVOO)

stir in onions, then okra
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp coriander
ground black pepper
salt
stir often
can add diced tomatoes
*************************
quick dunk in hot oil
fry
*********
oil, sliced garlic till golden
add okra and splash of water to lightly steam
cover for 20 minutes
******

cornmeal coating and fry

NOTE: Drink GREEN TEA WITH IT — that shrinks tumors

I drank gallons of the stuff for yrs…

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients. Nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half cup of cooked okra.

Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra)

Calories 25   Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1.52 grams   Carbohydrates 5.76 grams
Vitamin A 460 IU   Vitamin C 13.04 mg
Folic acid 36.5 micrograms   Calcium 50.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg   Potassium 256.6 mg
Magnesium 46 mg   

Preparation & Serving

 

Okra exudes a unique mucilaginous juice which is responsible for its thickening power in the famous Louisiana Creole gumbo dish. Aside from gumbo, okra compliments tomatoes, onions and corn, shellfish and fish stock. Okra has a subtle taste, similar to the flavor of eggplant.

Home Preservation

Freezing is the best method for long term home storage of okra. Freeze only young, tender okra. Okra must be blanched before freezing, as with all vegetables. Unblanched okra will quickly become tough and suffer huge nutrient, flavor and color loss during freezing. Follow the procedure outlined below for successful home freezing.ochro - okra 1 - Copy

To Prepare Okra for Freezing

Since freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable, it is important to start with fresh green pods. Avoid pods longer than 2 to 2-1/2 inches long. Okra that is at peak quality for eating is best for freezing.

  1. In a blanching pot or large pot with tight fitting lid, bring about 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, wash, and trim of stems of okra pods, leaving caps whole.
  3. Blanch no more than one pound of okra at a time. Drop pods into boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
  4. Start timing the blanching immediately and blanch for four minutes.
  5. Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5 to 6 quart container or use the sink.
  6. Remove the okra from the blanching water with a slotted spoon or blanching basket.
  7. Emerge the okra in the ice water bath for 5 min. or until completely cool. If ice is unavailable, use several changes of cold tap water to cool the vegetables.
  8. Remove from water and drain.
  9. Label and date, quart size, zip-closure freezer bags.
  10. Pack okra into prepared freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible by folding the top portion of the bag over. Gently push air out and seal. Freeze for up to one year at 32°F or below.

Note: Blanching water and ice water bath may be used over and over again. Return blanching water to a boil after each batch of vegetables is blanched and replenish water if necessary.

 

For more: Can you browse on the internet

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/okra.cfm

http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=60370

Recipes

Okra and Corn with Tomatoes

Serve this Carolina favorite over a bowl of long-grain rice with a piece of hot cornbread. The okra should be young, not longer than 2 inches. Vine ripen tomatoes and fresh bell peppers add to the richness of this dish.

  • 2 tablespoons each butter and canola oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon each thyme, red pepper flakes and basil
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 large fresh ripe, tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 4 ears corn, remove kernels, about 2 cups
    (may use frozen or canned whole kernel, drained)
  • 2 cups small okra pods, left whole or 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a 10 inch iron skillet or heavy pan, heat olive oil and add onions, bay leaves, thyme, basil, and red pepper flakes. Sauté, and stir until onions are limp add bell pepper and continue cooking until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, okra, water, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.


Okra and Green Beans

This dish tastes even better after refrigerating overnight. The flavors blend into a wonderful taste sensation. Serve it warm or cold. This dish can also be oven-baked. Instead of simmering, lightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F.

  • 3/4 pound fresh okra, uncut
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 pound fresh green beans
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed then chopped
  • 1 cup water plus 2 tablespoonssalt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste

Wash okra pods, trim stems, do not remove caps. If desired soak okra in vinegar for 30 minutes to remove some of the stickiness. Rinse well and drain. Wash beans and cut into 3 inch lengths. Combine water, tomato paste, olive oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and mix well.

Heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comet to boil. Add okra and beans and additional water if necessary to almost cover vegetables.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until vegetables are crisp-tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

 

Posted in COVID-19, Energy, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Youth190 Comments

signing-fibre-optic-contract

Fibre Optic Cable Project Breakthrough!

How do we now move on to a digital productivity-driven economic breakout?

Head of the Programme Management Office, Martin Parlett; Director of DITES, Denzil West; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Premier, Daphne Cassell; and Premier, Honourable Donaldson Romeo. Photo Credit: GoM/GIU

BRADES, Montserrat, October 26, 2019 –  On Thursday, October 24, Premier Donaldson Romeo announced that he is standing aside from the PDM Candidates list for the November 18th election. In saying this, he listed various achievements of the PDM administration. The first of these is strategically decisive for Montserrat:

“. . . after a ten-year fight, just today, October 24th, 2019, we have signed off the contract for the laying of the undersea Fibre Optic Cable worth EC$17 million. This is one-sixth of the CIPREG EC$100 million programme. The fibre optic cable project will open up the dynamic digital sector with many opportunities for internet server farms, business, and financial services, telemedicine, multimedia education, web-based enterprises, digital multimedia products, and lots more. This will lead to jobs, especially for our digitally-minded youth.”

Premier Romeo also had a few words for “naysayers” on the CIPREG Project: “The naysayers who so often publicly mocked the reality of these projects and sometimes suggested they were fake were wrong; they should now come clean to the people of Montserrat.” (Though this is a surprisingly strong remark for this Premier, it is understandable given how insistently the “naysayers” said and suggested such, in the face of mounting evidence. The “naysayers” now have a lesson to learn and face a character test. A fair comment is: if good news for Montserrat is bad news for you, and bad news for Montserrat is good news for you, you have a serious problem. Our voters will decide pass/fail, come Nov. 18.)

Now, based on a Government press release[1] dated October 25 we can fill in some details on the project:

“ . . . [T]he Government of Montserrat through the Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG) today signed a landmark multi-million-dollar deal with Southern Caribbean Fiber (SCF), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digicel Group, for the installation of a new subsea fibre optic cable system . . . .  the transformational 15-year agreement, worth in excess of XCD$16m,[2] sees SCF managing, maintaining and operating a new 25 kilometre [ = 15.6 miles ] fibre optic cable which paves the way for faster, more reliable and more resilient internet connectivity through Guadeloupe and Antigua. The agreement also provides for ten years of high-speed broadband internet access for the delivery of its services for the Government of Montserrat for free. SCF won the contract as part of a competitive international tendering process, and aims to complete the installation of Montserrat’s new fibre optic system by the summer of 2020 . . . . The Project will be overseen by the Programme Management Office in the Ministry of Finance, and the Department for Information Technology and E-Government Services (DITES) under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier. ”

A revealing fact here, is that we are to have a 15 mile cable, where Antigua is 26 miles away and Guadeloupe is even further. This means, logically, that we must be getting a “spur line” to a junction box inserted in an existing SCF/Digicel subsea Fibre Optic Cable between those two islands that obviously runs 15 miles off our coast.  No wonder SCF/Digicel won the bid! (The bonus is, we get a tie-in to Europe through Guadeloupe and one to the USA through Antigua. Two birds with one stone.)

What can we do with this opportunity? Many things:

  • We need to put in further, hurricane-proof underground fibre optic cable across the island so that households, schools, the hospital, businesses, new digital economy enterprises and Government can have fast, reliable digital access. (Yes, thanks to Lime and Digicel, we already have some underground fibre optic cable, as well as some that run in the air from telephone pole to telephone pole.)
  • We need to back this up with adequate standby generation so the cables won’t go down due to power cuts.
  • Longer term, we need to put in Geothermal Energy-based electricity, as this is one of the two most reliable electricity energy sources; along with large scale hydroelectric generation. (The Thermal Energy Partners estimates indicate that we may have over 100 MW of potential.[3])
  • This opens up opportunities for GT energy backed, Fibre Optic Cable connected server farms providing Internet, multimedia and business services.
  • As we are native English speakers – living in a low crime, UK Overseas Territory, emerald isle, tropical paradise (we have spring water in our taps!) – at a longitude between the US and Europe, Call Centres and the like are just the low hanging fruit.
  • Imagine, the impact of just a few investors moving to villas here with state of the art global fibre optic connectivity to do instant trading on the markets while they can pop over to a tropical beach in five minutes, or instead go for a lush tropical forest mountain hike just for a change of pace.
  • That points to business or art retreat centers, similarly globally connected.
  • Mix in Offshore Medical Universities and research centers and we can see telemedicine and specialist treatment facilities open up as major opportunities.
  • Of course, the to-be-rebuilt Glendon Hospital [£15m under CIPREG] must be wired for telemedicine and multimedia digital medical/nursing education.
  • As the new CXC Registrar announced here in August, CXC is moving regional education to a digital base. Blend that with multimedia, server farms and on-call services and digital education opportunities beckon. (Entertainment, music and television opportunities are too obvious to detail.)
  • Last June, we here at TMR pointed out[4] that since 2013, the UK has launched a Computing in Schools initiative for ages 5 to 16. We need something similar in Montserrat and the wider Caribbean. We need a digital workforce to go with a digital world.
  • You fill in ________ (the sky is the limit).

[1] GoM http://www.gov.ms/montserrat-selects-southern-caribbean-fiber-in-multi-million-dollar-subsea-fibre-optic-cable/?fbclid=IwAR24Mc48jd46Qs7H0rBujgDduEUq_VCqiJS4kpzIFoHhKAVRQWpBrGG0MFg

[2]  NOTE: £4.9 mn x 3.50 = EC$ 17.15 mn.

[3] TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/montserrats-geothermal-energy-gold-mine/

[4] TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/montserrat-go-digital-or-go-bust/

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, De Ole Dawg, Elections, Energy, Features, International, Local, Regional0 Comments

electric charging station

GoM offering duty and tax exemptions on imported electric vehicles

Minister of Finance and Premier, Donaldson Romeo announced yesterday, Thursday at a rare press conference where he addressed or updated on the government’s ongoing economic growth strategy, that his government has agreed to the new policy in line with their green energy mandate.

One of the electric vehicle charging plant

He informed that as a result of the Cabinet decision regarding importing “green” vehicles, over the next five years 100% Electric Vehicles will be exempt from all customs duties and consumption tax; however, processing fees will still be payable. “Hybrid” electric vehicles are to be exempt from customs duties for the next two years.

Other “hybrids” (other than plug-in “hybrids”) are to be exempt from consumption tax for two years. Also, replacement batteries and charging stations will be exempt from customs duties and excise tax for five years. Currently, there are two electric vehicle charging stations, one at the Public Works workshop and one at the Ministry of Works.

Conditions apply: All must be certified by the Director of Public Works to receive the exemptions.

A processing  fee of five percent is payable in all cases.

The Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) has received its first electric vehicle and is expected to unveil it shortly.

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Ronald-Jacksoon - C

Caribbean urged to be fully prepared for 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 1, CMC – The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially got started on Saturday with the Barbados-based  Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) urging the population in the region to be fully prepared for any eventuality over the next six months.

The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting there will be nine to 15 named storms during the hurricane season that ends on November 30.


Ronald Jackson (CMC Photo)

Forecasters are also predicting four to eight of  the storms will become hurricanes and two to four would become major hurricanes with 111 miles per hour (mph) winds or higher.

But CDEMA executive director, Ronald Jackson, said that regardless of how many storms are predicted, the Caribbean should be fully prepared for any eventuality.

“We do not get fixated on whether it is above below, or average…we focus more on ensuring that we go through the season prepared. There is nothing called over preparing as you would have seen in 2017 when we had three Category 5 hurricanes,” he told reporters.

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria lashed several Caribbean countries as they made their way through the Lesser Antilles leaving behind a trail of death and destruction estimated at billions of US dollars.

Jackson reminded the Caribbean that hurricanes were now manifesting themselves at a faster rate than before “to a situation where they went from a Category 2 to category 5 in a very short period of time.

“So we have to be prepared for any eventuality. We have to recognise that we have a history of damage, extensive damage from severe rainfall,” he said, adding that CDEMA has been promoting all year round the need to ensure ‘we could deal with any eventuality”.

He said several initiatives had been undertaken and the Barbados-based regional agency was also preparing for volcanic and earthquake incidents during the hurricane season.

“I know it is the hurricane season but we are also upgrading the volcanic, earthquake and tsunami aspects of our plan.

“Again, simply because it does not matter if you are in the hurricane season, you can have an event of nature, a volcano, tsunami or earthquake given the setting here in the Caribbean,” Jackson added.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Energy, Hurricane, News0 Comments

Solar pv handover

Is this end of Geothermal Energy development?

“No!” says Premier Romeo, also Minister Lewis – as solar energy emerges

https://www.themontserratreporter.com/bright-openings-for-2019/

Solar Energy Released

Even coming on the heels of the pulling out of Icelandic drilling equipment from the compound encompassing the MON3 well, the drilling site for the continuing project of “Unlocking the Geothermal Potential of Montserrat” and the news of the report that end of the project, Montserrat on Monday celebrated a milestone in the “green” renewable energy development.

Premier Romeo as he thanked the European Development Fund, EDF 10, for major funding, with other funding, “sourced through our own Ministry of Finance; and as always, this was supported by DfID,” opened his remarks at the handing over ceremony of the completed 250 kilowatt solar project to Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL).

“Today is a milestone for Montserrat, as we formally commission our 250-kilowatt Solar, photovolt type powerplant. It’s good news to know that it is now on grid, and it represents 10% of our load demand. MUL now has a renewable energy driven powerplant that is capable of carrying about 10% of our peak load.

“As we go forward. Plans are in place to add a further 750 kilowatt of solar PV capacity with some battery back-up. When this is in place we will have one megawatt of solar PV capacity which can supply about 40% of our current electricity consumption. We will not stop here, clearly. For as we continue to explore green energy, like the rest of the world, we will keep an eye on wind, biofuels, electric vehicles, and of course, geothermal.

“On geothermal, we have already two wells that have proven capacity to support our needs. And, a third well that has unfortunately met with technical difficulties. However, we are still moving forward to develop this form of green energy, through working with partners to bring geothermal power plant in place,” he said.

He noted: “Thanks are due to – through hard, persistent work the Ministry of Communications and Works, the consultants, STANTEC and the contractor SALT Energy, all led by Hon Lewis, the plant was successfully completed within the EDF 10 deadline.”

ZJB reported that on Monday, in the history of electrical generation on Montserrat, Hon Energy Minister Paul Lewis, handed over the completed 250 kilowatt solar project to MUL, during a special ceremony at the MUL car park at the station.

The project is the realisation of Mr. Lewis and the government’s vision to see solar become a key contributor to Montserrat’s green energy production capabilities.

It is anticipated, the report continued, that with the inclusion of the 250kilowatt solar into the National grid, there will be an expected reduction in the fuel surcharge. And eventually lower MUL’s consumer bills. The 250kilowatt solar project.

The reported noted this is the first phase of the eventual one megawatt solar PV project as planned. The next stage will be the 750kilowatt solar PV project with box for storage and as Minister Lewis explains the aim is to incorporate other sources of renewable energy into the national grid.

Meanwhile Kendal Lee the Managing Director of (MUL) outlined that the historic storage integration of solar power into the national grid is in line with the vision of the company.

He explained that the consensus of a staff meeting some years ago was that the company should become the greenest provider of utility services in the Caribbean, and, now he concedes that the reintroduction of renewable energy generation into company’s electricity portfolio shows that they are heading in the right direction.

European Union (EU) officer Kyle Walrond who was present at the handing over ceremony cemented the EU’s committment to supporting the renewal of energy and the sufficiency sustainable development as [Montserrat] like other territories in the region progress to agreeing economy.

The EU rep noted, “As you know we are committed to support the effort that goes toward mitigation of climate change worldwide and every step, small or big towards our common goal of making peace with our planet. This occasion marks yet another milestone in our countries’ development. As Montserrat forges ahead with its goal of transitioning from a fossil fuel based energy sector to a renewable based energy sector.”

He revealed that the  EDF program will also assist the government and its goals to replace conventional street light with LED lighting, solar lighting for roads and other infrastructure matters adjacent to main powers will also be installed with support from the European Union.

The last time the company utilized renewable energy as part of its generation mix was from 1989 through to 1995. When it operated 2 – 100 kilowatt vectors wind turbine machines at St. George’s Hill.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Energy, Environment, Featured, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

RE-SAT Montserrat

Minister welcomes new renewable energy space technology initiative for Montserrat

UK-based Institute for Environmental Analytics is to partner with the Government of Montserrat to implement an innovative renewable energy analytics platform – RE-SAT – to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The partnership has been made possible by investment from the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP) and reflects Montserrat’s position at the forefront of promoting clean growth.

RE-SAT fuses satellite and in-situ weather data with advanced analytics to provide highly detailed renewable energy information to help users:  

  • Explore and define the best renewable energy mix.
  • Plan where to locate different renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Assess the potential financial viability of renewable energy investments.
  • Estimate power production and variability, taking into account seasonal weather patterns.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is being signed to mark the partnership between the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) and the IEA. They will work together and with other key stakeholders to tailor RE-SAT to their needs and build capacity to support its implementation, combining the IEA’s expertise with in-country knowledge and skills.

Minister of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, Paul Lewis welcomed the collaboration, saying: “The Government of Montserrat’s vision to transform to 100% renewable energy on the grid and its green connected and thriving ICT theme clearly merges ICT, telecommunications and energy agenda to create an environment for economic growth. The MoU between MCWEL and the UK-based Institute for Environmental Analytics to implement an innovative, renewable energy analytics planning platform to support the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy is welcomed.

“This tool will inform decisions pertaining to best possible energy sources and combinations, ideal energy infrastructure locations, estimated power production and variability based on seasonal weather patterns. We embrace the development and use of this tool to inform the Government and private sector renewable energy investments.

“I express our gratitude to IEA and the UK Space Agency for including Montserrat as one of the six small island developing states in their International Partnership Programme. We look forward to working together in the development of our island.”

Permanent Secretary Beverley Mendes added: “The Ministry of Communication, Works, Energy and Labour is pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to be at the forefront of this collaboration

between the Government of Montserrat and UK-based, Institute for Environmental Analytics. The development and application of a renewable energy analytical planning platform will allow for more informed decisions to be made as it pertains to the investigation, implementation and improvement of renewable energy sources on Montserrat. A number of Government entities have been enlisted in the development process to ensure the platform is equipped with the necessary data. We are looking forward to working with the IEA on such an important initiative.”

Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “By working closely with Montserrat we will provide the quality of data they need to develop a sound business case to switch to renewable sources to a far greater extent. Understanding minute-by-minute variability is a key question as it affects the requirement for reserve energy generation. However, long periods of historic observations are often not available from existing data sources. With our world-leading skills in data analytics we will use Earth observation data to construct a synthetic weather model for Montserrat to improve both the planning of renewable investment and also the management of reserve capacity.

“As RE-SAT is funded by the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, the project runs as a true partnership, using the knowledge and expertise of our Montserrat partners. It is not a one-off consultancy exercise by a third party.”

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “We’re proud to support Montserrat in their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which will deliver greater self-sufficiency while reducing global carbon emissions to combat climate change.”

Montserrat is one of six small-island developing states (SIDS) to benefit from £2.9m investment from the UK Space Agency IPP in RE-SAT. The others are: St Lucia, Mauritius, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu.

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Nevis Premier in search of cash to make geothermal project a reality

Nevis Premier in search of cash to make geothermal project a reality

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Nov 21, CMC –Premier Mark Brantley says an estimated EC$60 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) is needed to develop the stalled geothermal project on the island.

“I think that at this stage all of us know that what we’ve been waiting on is for production of the energy and that would require the necessary investment to drill the production wells and to build the plant and to do tie into the connectivity between the plant and NEVLEC (Nevis Electricity Company Limited) so that NEVLEC can transmit the power,” Brantley told a news conference.

(File Photo)

He said that is what has proven most difficult because Nevis Island Administration had been able to raise the resources to do the exploration and it’s just for the production.

“The developers have had difficulty raising those monies (and) they have brought in recent months Black Rock Securities which they say is going to provide some equity financing and OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) … which is an arm of the United States government which is supposed to provide some debt financing.

“If we had the money we would do it ourselves, to be honest cause then we would only have to hire experts but it would be something that we do as a project but the problem is the funding,’ Brantley said.

He told reporters that two sources for financing have been identified but that process might take several months to materialize if at all.

“The last that I’ve heard is that OPIC has okayed their side of things to do the financing for the project on the debt side but I’m not sure what the result of the Black Rock due diligence is going to be.

“Each of those entities takes between three to six months to do their due diligence and so that process has been an ongoing process. We have had visits from both OPIC and Black Rock Securities I believe they were all here towards the middle of this year and so we await final word,” Brantley said.

But he sought to assure citizens that the NIA remains committed to bringing geothermal on stream for the benefit of the people of Nevis and the rest of the twin island-federation.

Earlier this year, GeothermEX, a subsidiary of Schlumberger Company that focuses on geothermal energy testing, said its findings confirm the requisite temperature and flow necessary for a sustainable supply of geothermal energy on Nevis and the reservoir has been classified as high-grade commercial quality.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Energy, Featured, International, Local, OECS, Technology0 Comments

Finance Minister stands by earlier statements on “drug fuelled” economy

Finance Minister stands by earlier statements on “drug fuelled” economy

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Oct 31, CMC – Finance Minister Winston Jordan Wednesday maintained that the Guyana economy was partly fuelled by drugs under the previous administration and brushed aside a request by a leading private sector group to provide evidence of the allegation.

Jordan, speaking at a news conference here, made reference to the request from the Private Sector Commission (PSC) for him to provide it with the evidence indicating that the local economy was partly fuelled by drugs money under the last government.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan speaking to reporters

He told reporters that there were two studies presented by Economics Professor Clive Thomas which pointed to the impact of drug money on the Guyanese economy pre-2015.

“I will tell you this much, where the economy is today is proof positive that the economy was being run by drugs, by significant input from drugs”, Jordan said, adding that when he made his statement in a letter to a local newspaper recently, he did not refer to any private sector body.

“Now if as Bob says who the cap fit, then that’s fine,” he said, adding that his statement was specific to some in the private sector who benefited from nefarious activities.

“I was amazed to be quite honest when I got a letter from that gentleman asking me to provide proof to the private sector. I was amazed”.

Jordan said that he is busy preparing the national budget and other activities of his Ministry and therefore does not have the time to waste on the request from the PSC.

Jordan told reporters that with at least US$300 million being projected for the government’s coffers from ExxonMobil’s LIZA One well during the first year, there will many expected improvements.

“There will be improvements in the cultural, social and economic areas,” he said, referring to the expected revenues from initial oil production in 2020.

But he cautioned that funds will be spent carefully and in accordance with proposed legislation intended to govern the use of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

This legislation is being finalized by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, with assistance from stakeholders from Commonwealth, Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Jordon told reporters that the expected funds will be kept in the SWF, then transferred to the Consolidated Fund, before it can be utilized.

He said one area being considered for improvements is the pensions of former managers and other government officials who, as a result of currency devaluations and other factors, receive a basic minimum pension.

Guyana is projecting commercial production of its oil sector by 2020 and according to the government, other areas of priority include infrastructural development, and agriculture, housing and manufacturing sectors.

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CDB to fund energy project in Dominica

CDB to fund energy project in Dominica

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 30, CMC – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it is assisting Dominica undertake a project to conduct energy audits on 15 public buildings and facilities.

The CDB said that Dominica will be also getting assistance the European Union and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

It said that the grant of US$127,000 from the Bank’s Sustainable Energy for the Eastern Caribbean (SEEC) Programme will help Roseau conduct the energy audits.

The programme provides blended resources to address energy security issues through renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions, particularly in the public sector.

The project is in line with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development within its Borrowing Member Countries (BMC) as well as the Bank’s corporate priority of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure.

The identified buildings, which include major government complexes such as the Financial Centre, the Douglas-Charles Airport and Dominica State College, currently consume some 4,459, 402 kilowatt hours of energy annually, costing more than four million EC dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) annually.

The CDB said that the audits will analyse the energy performance of the buildings, and identify and recommend cost-effective and feasible energy efficiency measures.

Acting Head of the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Unit, CDB, Joseph Williams said the project could result in cost and carbon emission savings for Dominica.

“Through this project, the government of Dominica could benefit from a reduction in its annual expenditure on electricity of an estimated two million US dollars.

“Implementing energy efficiency measures could result in a decrease of about 30 percent in energy consumption and savings of 1,929 megawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to a reduction of 1,254 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, helping Dominica meet its nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement,” he added.

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DSC_3665

DFID to fund next Geothermal phase for Montserrat

Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis

The Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to fund the next phase in the development of a geothermal power plant on Montserrat.

According to the Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis, the agency will source the funding to engage experts to move the geothermal plant development forward. “This expertise could take the form of a “Client Engineer” that will aid in the formulation of turnkey service for the project,” a release from Lewis’ ministry stated.

Minister Lewis shared that the client engineer is expected to have experience in public private partnerships as it is the proposed way the plant is to be developed. The engineer would be responsible to guide the development of the Montserrat Geothermal Plant Project.

He added that his ministry’s data gathering has revealed that it is possible to get a cheaper cost of power delivery to the consumer and they want to ensure that the public receives the best price on the market.

In August, the minister informed that his team met with their DFID counterparts on August 28 to finalise the Report of the Early Market Engagement (EME), announced at a press conference on January 23, this year. In attendance at the meeting were Permanent Secretary, Beverley Mendes, Energy Advisor Owen Lewis, and DFID representatives Moira Marshall, Allan Clarkin and Iftikhar Ahmad.

According to the press statement released on Wednesday, “there was a common consensus that the Early Market Engagement process was a success. There is a clear indication of interest in Montserrat’s geothermal prospects based on the number of well qualified geothermal players that participated in the exercise. It was further recognized that the current wells developed through investments provided by the UK Government has aided the advancement of Montserrat’s quest for geothermal energy.”

The EME proposed scope of works included, design, engineering, procurement, construction and partial financing services for Montserrat Geothermal 2.5 – 3.5 MW Plant Development.

Minister Lewis said the EME was an attempt to inform and engage the market and secure information.

“All parties were in agreement that the main concept behind the drive for the Geothermal project was to establish economic growth for Montserrat. It is therefore paramount that there is an attractive energy tariff rate to create investors interest in the island and for the local consumers to help improve their standards of living. Both the Government of Montserrat and DFID team have established action points that were agreed in the meeting. These action points will continue to drive the realization of geothermal energy,” said the release.

Meanwhile, a final agreement to complete drilling and short-term testing of Mon 3 has not yet been completed with the Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). No word on why the negotiations are still ongoing, as this has been the status since the start of the year.

A final decision on DFID funding contribution of the proposed geothermal plant has not been communicated to the government to date. Both parties have agreed to form a working group to determine how the geothermal project will proceed.

However, news of the positive sounds for the future movement on the six-year-old geothermal project have been met with criticism that the project has fallen this far behind. The argument says that there was a funding agreement in principle in 2014. That the project would have produced at minimum the base load with the new Genset as a backup. The information said that a third well was agreed at that time which would have allowed for expansion to at least 4.5MW production using two production wells and the third being for reinjection.

That information was highlighted, but in a different way during the ‘no confidence motion’ in Parliament this week, when Minister Paul Lewis said that the idea or the decision to acquire a 1.5 genset was a mistake, even though the idea and the need may have been a good one. He was challenged for not providing the facts, but countered that there was no knowledge at the time with the generators in use were constantly failing, when geothermal would have been in operation.

The unfortunate situation is that the new genset seemed up to now to be like ‘a lemon’ since as this report is written, it is with a sigh of relief, we say there hasn’t been any regular power outage over the past couple weeks.

Posted in Energy, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

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