BILL Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, yesterday addressed the official opening of LUCELEC’s 3MW Solar Farm at La Tourney, Vieux Fort, at which he described Saint Lucia as “a clean energy leader in the Caribbean.”
Providing a bit of insight into the history of how the Solar Farm Project got started, Clinton named members of the former Administration, thanking “Former Prime Minister and Representative Dr. Anthony… for welcoming me 15 years ago to this wonderful place.”
He also thanked former Energy Minister Dr. James Fletcher, as well as LUCELEC Managing Director Trevor Louisy and former Chairman of the Board of Directors at LUCELEC John Joseph for their respective contributions to the successful launch of the Solar Farm.
He intimated that their initiative was what allowed the Solar Farm project to be initiated and said that Thursday’s launch, “clearly makes St. Lucia a clean energy leader in the Caribbean.”
Former Prime Minister and Vieux Fort South MP Dr. Kenny Anthony provided a brief recollection of his welcoming President Clinton to St. Lucia as the host Prime Minister
15 years ago and spoke about the significance of the launch of the Solar Farm on Thursday.
“In January 2003, I had the special honour of being the host Prime Minister to President Bill Clinton on his memorable and historic visit to St. Lucia. Today, I am again honoured to welcome President Clinton and his delegation; and this time to my constituency Vieux Fort South,” Anthony stated.
He added that “Today, the official opening of this 3MW Solar Farm marks an important milestone in the development of the energy sector in our country.”
The Vieux Fort South MP keenly pointed out the role his former administration played in getting this project off the ground, reminding everyone present that “in celebrating this achievement, we must not forget the vision and the hard work that got us here.”
Chronicling the process undertaken to acquire the Solar Farm, Anthony recalled that “The journey started with a promise by my former administration, when it assumed office in December 2011, to increase the penetration of renewable energy in our national grid by 20% by the year 2020.”
“However, in making that pledge” he continued, “we understood that we were going into unchartered territory and we needed to build a coalition of development partners along the way.”
The Vieux Fort South MP then outlined the role played by former Minister of Sustainable Development and Energy Dr. James Fletcher, in building that coalition and “with the blessings of the cabinet of ministers, enlisted the support of the Clinton Climate Initiative.”
He later recalled the “Sustainable Energy For All meeting in Barbados in 2012”, where “Dr. Fletcher met with representatives of the Clinton Foundation and a very successful partnership was born.”
Clinton took the time to “applaud the Government and previous Governments and all the Ministers here and LUCELEC…”
However, he also offered one piece of subtle advice to St. Lucia, cautioning that this Solar Farm “should be seen as the beginning of the comprehensive, determined, unrelenting effort to make St. Lucia and all the island nations of the Caribbean, stronger, safer and more sustainable” and that “all this clean energy will only work if it could be protected.”