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Mullings gets LNG project

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM

SIX MONTHS after removing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project from the portfolio of then Energy Minister James Robertson, Prime Minister Bruce Golding has returned the responsibility of overseeing the project to the energy ministry.

This time, however, it will be Clive Mullings, a former minister who had expressed a preference for coal, who will be leading the implementation of the project.

"With the appointment of Clive Mullings as minister of energy and mining, I will divest myself of the responsibilities that I had assumed for overseeing the introduction of LNG to Jamaica and the steering committee, which is headed by my special adviser Chris Zacca, will now report directly to the minister of energy and mining," the prime minister said yesterday.

Mullings, who Golding fired in April 2009 as minister of energy and has now been rehired, said it would be important for the country to diversify its energy sources.

He also said his preference for coal would not be a factor in the way he undertakes his job.

"The Government's policy is LNG and, therefore, it is my remit and responsibility to make sure it is brought on board efficiently and as quickly as possible and that everything is done according to order," Mullings told The Gleaner yesterday.

The new energy minister also said that if Jamaica is to grow, the energy costs must be significantly lowered. He said a mix of energy options, including greater use of solar power, must be pursued.

"It's a no-brainier. We have to get people off the grid," Mulling said.

Montague excited

At the same time, Robert Montague, the new agriculture minister, said he was excited about his new job and that he would be focusing on agro-processing and strengthening marketing for farmers.

Montague said outgoing Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has "left big shoes for me to fill and I hope he leaves a pair so I can start measuring up from day one".

Said he: "I intend to build on his foundation. I intend to pull upon the expertise of the people in the ministry and in the wider farming community. My focus will be the small farmers and marketing. I believe that the small farmers are the backbone of our agriculture and that we also need to begin to make that transition into the secondary production."