Shaw says Caribbean must exploit falling oil prices
Finance Minister and Chairman of the board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank, Audley Shaw, says Caribbean countries should use the benefit of the current low oil prices, to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Shaw was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 46th annual meeting of the CDB in Montego Bay, St James, this morning.
"The magnitude of declines in oil prices in particular, has, on balance benefitted Caribbean economies positively, even as we recognise some of our neighbours - Trinidad and Suriname in particular - who would have been affected by the oil price decline," Shaw said.
However, he says there are risks as oil-consuming economies will see another rise in oil prices.
Yesterday, the Opposition Spokesman on Finance also raised concerns about the local economy on the basis that oil is now being sold for US$45 per barrel while the budget was compiled on the assumption that it is trading at US$35 per barrel.
"There is no time for us to look away from alternative energy," Shaw said this morning.
"It is time for us to intensify our look at alternative energy."
He said reforms and diversification of the region's energy sector, should be pursued as a matter of priority while at the same time ensuring conservation.
The CDB's two-day meeting is expected to cover a number of issues, including poverty in the Caribbean region, the Caribbean Maritime Port Services industry, and development of micro, small and medium enterprises.