PRESS RELEASE (Nov. 30, 2021) — The St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA) on Monday, November 29, 2021, tackled two important matters of national interest at their annual Youth Parliament Sitting held as part of activities for Youth Month and Energy Month in St. Kitts.
“A Resolution by the National Assembly of St. Christopher and Nevis to adopt the National Energy Policy” and “A Resolution by the National Assembly of St. Christopher and Nevis to adopt the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy” were the two topics debated at Monday’s sitting.
Hon. Mauriel Knight – Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development, National Security and Economic Development – moved and introduced the National Energy Policy which was seconded by Hon. Duanna Bradley – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Sustainable Development, Foreign Affairs and Civil Aviation.
In making his contribution to the resolution, Prime Minister Knight described the National Energy Policy as a step in the right direction for a sustainable future.
He said, “the policy is built on the guiding principle that energy services of our nation must contribute to a sustainable and affordable service of energy while also accelerating the minimization of fossil fuel consumption.”
“According to the data provided by the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, the Federation’s mix in 2019 comprised 94.3 % diesel, 3.9 % wind and 1.77 % solar. The key to a balanced and more sustainable future is to diversify this matrix and integrate the use of renewable energy resources into the matrix,” explained the Energy Minister.
The National Energy Policy seeks to analyze the feasibility for the operation of electric cars within the Federation and identify the required infrastructure needed to facilitate such.
Hon. Kara Daly – Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for St. Christopher 3 – said “renewable technologies are indeed investments due to the high upfront costs that are barriers to procurement. Subsidies and duty free concessions are indeed necessary. While I appreciate the current concessions on renewable energy, there is more that needs to be done.”
The Opposition Leader said “there is nothing that currently speaks of electric and hybrid vehicles. The list is too limited. The legislation must be in place beforehand. Countries like Barbados, one of the leading countries in renewable energy per capita, have implemented policies and incentives to support its target of 49% reduction in fossil fuels by electrifying all 100% of its buses and public fleet. Where are we in St. Kitts Madam Speaker?”
The Opposition Leader urged the Government to, in evaluating the feasibility of electric cars, to be cognizant of the culture and habits of the people. Cultural norms should guide the policies that we implement.
The National Energy Policy also seeks to implement public campaigns geared towards educating the population about the benefits of using renewable energy; and implement environmentally friendly waste-to-energy programmes through the adoption of the necessary environmental regulations establishing which kind of wastes may be used for the production of energy, including biofuels and biogas.
Hon. Joel Smith – Leader of Government Business; Minister of Health, ICT, National Health Insurance, Social Security and Cooperatives – moved and introduced the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy and was seconded by Hon. Alaric Arache – Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, Consumer Affairs, Industry and Commerce.
“The issue at hand is no joke. With packed hospitals and increased mortality rates globally, a firm stance must be adopted,” the Health Minister said.
“Two years ago, I decided I wanted to change the way I eat. What followed was countless time spent researching different foods and drinks and how they affect your body,” Hon. Smith said, adding that “during this research period, I was met with certain facts. The next time you wish to partake in the occasional soda or other sweetened beverage, do yourself a favour and read the nutrition label…”
The Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy seeks to prohibit the sale of SSBs within a designated radius of the school premises by creating a healthy school zone whereby vendors and fast-food restaurants within said zone will not be permitted to sell SSBs to children under 18 years of age between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.; and allocate portions of the earned tax revenue to create, support and develop nutrition and physical activity-related programs, including the establishment of a robust Health and Wellness Curriculum for all schools, the creation of community gardens, the identification and marking of walking trails, among other things.
In attendance at the sitting on Monday were former Senior Government Minister and Ambassador Vance Amory; Clerk of the National Assembly Mrs. Sonia Boddie-Thompson; former President of SKNYPA Ms. Patrice Harris; and representatives from the Energy Unit within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and staff of the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited and Lake Health and Wellbeing.