PM says busi­ness peo­ple must be will­ing to take risks

Jamaica Gleaner - - GROWTH & JOBS - Janet Sil­vera Se­nior Gleaner Writer

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Andrew Hol­ness says Ja­maica has to build back an en­tre­pre­neur­ial class of risk-takers who will be able to see and cap­i­talise on op­por­tu­ni­ties that are be­com­ing avail­able. He fur­ther ar­gued that per­sons should not al­low their thoughts to be throt­tled by past ex­pe­ri­ences, but should, in­stead, be proac­tive in try­ing to im­prove their economic sit­u­a­tion. “Ja­maica went through a rough pe­riod where our busi­ness class be­came very risk averse,” the prime min­is­ter ex­plained. “The bad ex­pe­ri­ences have made us very con­ser­va­tive and, I would also say, very con­strained in our out­look on the future and what we can achieve.” Hol­ness was giv­ing the key­note ad­dress at the com­mis­sion­ing of the Ja­maica Pub­lic Ser­vice’s liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG) fa­cil­ity in Bogue, St James, on Novem­ber 11. “I am not say­ing here that we must go and take reck­less risk. I am say­ing that we must man­age risk. It is in the man­age­ment of risk that we are able to take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he fur­ther ex­plained. Hol­ness sin­gled out New Fortress En­ergy, the Amer­i­can com­pany that in­vested US$175 mil­lion in Ja­maica’s LNG op­er­a­tions, as an ex­am­ple of a risk­taker that has made good use of an op­por­tu­nity. “There was no LNG here be­fore,” he pointed out. “This is a to­tally un­ex­plored en­vi­ron­ment for that com­pany, but they took a risk on Ja­maica. Gov­ern­ment mat­tered in that risk be­cause the role of Gov­ern­ment is to en­sure that a busi­ness­man who is will­ing to take risk can op­er­ate in an at­mos­phere and an en­vi­ron­ment where the risk can be man­aged.”

For his part, chair­man of the Port Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica (PAJ), Pro­fes­sor Gor­don Shirley, said he was happy his agency was able to do its part in en­sur­ing that LNG is now a re­al­ity in Ja­maica.

“The Port Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica is pleased to be a par­tic­i­pant in this event to com­mem­o­rate the con­ver­sion of the Bogue fa­cil­ity to the use of

nat­u­ral gas, an ob­jec­tive that the JPS and the Gov­ern­ment have had for over a decade,” Shirley re­marked.

“This di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the type of fuel used in the pro­duc­tion of our elec­tric­ity will lead to the sta­bil­i­sa­tion and re­duc­tion in the price of elec­tric­ity, which will ben­e­fit all Ja­maicans.”

Shirley noted that the PAJ ne­go­ti­ated a five-year agree­ment with New Fortress En­ergy for the lease of five acres of land at the ter­mi­nal to ac­com­mo­date the fuel stor­age fa­cil­ity, and also berthing spa­ces at the port. The agree­ment, he added, has sub­se­quently been in­creased to 20 years.

Mean­while, chair­man of the Elec­tric­ity En­ter­prise Team, Dr Vin­cent Lawrence, said the thrust for LNG was born out of the need for a cheaper and cleaner fuel op­tion which suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments, at one time or an­other, have been push­ing for.

“The break­through came in 2014 with the agree­ment for JPS to re­place ob­so­lete gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity with a new gas-fired 190-megawatt plant and to covert this Bogue 120megawatt plant also to be­ing gas­fired,” Lawrence said.

“This was fa­cil­i­tated by the Of­fice of Util­i­ties Reg­u­la­tion’s 2014 rate de­ter­mi­na­tion, which was pro­mul­gated in Jan­uary 2015, and which al­lowed fund­ing for the Bogue power plant to burn gas as its fuel source. This has been quite a re­mark­able jour­ney in­deed.”



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