A project that will see the CARICOM Secretariat’s Headquarters Building in Georgetown, Guyana generating 100 percent of its electricity needs through a Photovoltaic Power Generation System was launched with a sod-turning ceremony on Monday.

Turning the sod (from left) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Minister of Public Infrastructure, Guyana, Hon David Patterson; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana, Dr. Hon. Karen Cummings; Japan’s Ambassador to CARICOM and Guyana H.E. Mr. Tatsuo HIRAYAMA

The Project, being funded by the Government of Japan, will include:

  • Installation of 400 kilowatt of solar photovoltaic power generator to provide electricity to the Secretariat building;
  • A battery and power conditioning system for energy storage and power quality regulation; and
  • An advanced building energy management system to, among other things, provide air conditioning controls and track energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

The planning is being coordinated by the CARICOM Energy Committee chaired by Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan.

CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana Government and Japanese Government Officials among the audience at the sod-turning ceremony

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque was among the speakers at Monday’s Ceremony. Below we present his remarks:

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque addressing the Ceremony

Today marks another milestone in the history of the CARICOM Secretariat. Today marks another milestone in the relationship between Japan and the Caribbean Community.

This is the beginning of the end of a journey which the DSG has described and in which I was privileged to be engaged from the start, although in another capacity.

I well recall the green buildings initiative and the first Energy Audit of the Secretariat in 2010 which laid the initial groundwork for the journey that has brought us here today pursuing energy efficiency.

It was an initiative fully supported by the Executive Management of the Secretariat, who urged that our headquarters should be a green building as an example to other public buildings in the Community.

Now with the help of the Government of Japan, we are on the way to achieving that objective. It is most fitting that Japan is once again involved in a Project, with respect to these premises, which it so generously assisted in providing.

We are breaking ground today in front of our beautiful Headquarters building which was built by the Government of Guyana, for which we are eternally grateful, with considerable financial support from the Government of Japan.

Apart from this Project and these premises, the Government of Japan has supported a significant number of initiatives in disaster management, climate resilience and sustainable energy in the Region.

On behalf of the Secretariat and the Community, I thank the Government of Japan for their continued support and look forward to strengthening the links to our mutual benefit.

I wish, as well, to express appreciation and gratitude to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the financial and technical support for this Project.

I must also thank the Government of Guyana for supporting the development of this Project.

Over the last decade, renewable energy and energy efficiency have been on the forefront of the Region’s Agenda. This is because there is global acknowledgement that the way in which we produce, deliver and use energy is important to our sustainable development.

Globally, the building sector is the largest energy-consuming sector, accounting for 42 per cent of electricity usage, and is equally a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Within CARICOM, buildings account for nearly 80 per cent of electricity usage. This is, in part, due to our climatic conditions, as well as design, with buildings requiring significant amounts of cooling and humidity control.

The increasing attention to climate change and energy costs within the Region has focussed attention on energy use in buildings.

The CARICOM Energy Policy, which was adopted in April 2013, promotes efficient energy-use in buildings. This was an important driver for the development of the CARICOM Energy Efficiency Building Code, which was approved in April 2018.

The CARICOM Secretariat is demonstrating, through this Project, that we are not constraining ourselves to only leading the policy and strategy agenda, but that we are also practicing the principles that are being promoted.

In closing I must give very special thanks to Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, who led the CARICOM Secretariat Energy Committee, and whose work has brought us to this moment and ensured the dream has become a reality.

I look forward to the completion of this Project which is truly a symbol of the renewed energy in relations between CARICOM and Japan!

I thank you.