Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Plans by the Government to scrap the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which was part of measures to diversify the country's energy mix and cut electricity cost, are threatening to throw the business sector into disarray.
Yesterday, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Christopher Zacca, noting that the introduction of LNG was backed by his organisation, said there was now "concern" over the report carried in The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.
As such, Zacca said, he would be calling a meeting of the PSOJ energy committee in short order to have discussions on the matter.
The Sunday Gleaner indicated that Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell is scheduled to announce next month the intention of the Government to do away with the project.
Gleaner sources say the Government is likely to revert to plans B and C, which will see the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) being allowed to establish the LNG infrastructure and source the gas for the multibillion-dollar plant it plans to construct in Old Harbour, St Catherine.
Trouble for sector
Opposition Spokesperson on Energy Gregory Mair, when contacted yesterday, said the report spells trouble for the country's energy sector.
"This matter that we have been stuck with heavy fuel oil is not good news at all," he said before chiding the Government for its handling of the project.
"I don't know what went wrong but the bottom line is that it was going to be the private sector that was going to be funding the entire LNG project and I think they just messed up the whole thing," Mair said.
In the meantime, yesterday, president and CEO of JPS, Kelly Tomblin, said her company intends to go ahead with plans to build its multibillion-dollar plant in Old Harbour, St Catherine, but added that the shape of the development would be dependent on how the Government now intends to participate in the project.
She added that she was looking forward to meeting with Paulwell in the coming week to discuss the way forward.
The Gleaner understands that Paulwell is currently off the island and is expected to return tomorrow.