Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Ja ripe for development of energy sector - US ambassador-nominee

Published:Thursday | August 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Donald Ray Tapia, US Ambassador-nominee to Jamaica.

Donald Tapia, United States (US) President Donald Trump's nominee for the post of ambassador to Jamaica, told a Senate committee hearing yesterday that he would focus much of his attention on the energy sector if he is named to the post.

Tapia, an American business-man, told senators that should he be confirmed, he would leverage his management skills to push this area of strategic corporation for both countries.

"Jamaica is ripe for the development of renewed energy sources like geo-thermal, solar, and wind power. Jamaica has some of the world's highest electricity rates, which reduces competitiveness and prevents them from investing in other areas such as education and business enterprises," he said.

Tapia also promised to assist Jamaica in building resilience against natural disaster, which he noted continued to wreak havoc in the economy, wiping out capital.

Quizzed by Senator Chris Coons about how he planned to help Jamaican advance a more sustainable power security for its future, Tapia responded: "The USAID (United States Agency for International Development) is now in the process of formulating a programme to work with the Jamaican Government, and so forth, to build resiliency for, primarily, hurricanes ... I would support the USAID position very robustly to work with them ... ."

Tapia told the committee that he could be a conduit between the Jamaican Government and the US business community.

"Jamaica's proximity to the United States and shared culture and language can facilitate increased engagement, investment, trade, and cooperation," he said.

The Senate Committee on Foreign relations will again meet to discuss the nomination even though its chairman, John Isakson, did not provide any specifics on when the meeting would be held.

Jamaica has been without a US top diplomat since the departure of Luis Moreno in July of 2017.