ADVICE FROM AUDLEY SHAW, FORMER FINANCE MINISTER

 Friday’s May 3, 2013’s   Gleaner was made prominent in that we received a word of caution from the former Finance Minister, Audley Shaw.

It was advice that should not be taken lightly. Too many times in business we commit for projects only to find half-way through, the budget is exceeded or we run out of money, or interest rates have risen, or industrial unrest, and there will be a cost overrun.

In one area I can envisage problems; inflationary pressures and the interest factors will cause the exchange rate to devalue further, unless in the interim some increase of productive output will come into effect.  So, Mr. Shaw’s advice is sound; encourage smaller scale industrial growth and production, and let these carry the country to the point of energy with installed sufficiency, and then the situation can be re-assessed. Moreover, a megabucks project will tend to cause megadollar over-runs if some factor goes awry, so with the numerous smaller investments we are creating a “hedge.”

There is not only industrial production but agricultural production. In to- day’s Gleaner (May 3) there was a proposal for the expansion of goat farming, which I suppose would be a useful addition to cattle supply and availability. This would appear to have great potential, and could be encouraged to large industry status; many farmers keep goats, but there is not much incentive to produce, and this type of cattle is very attractive to praedial larceny. With more incentive and investment, goat can be as important as lamb in other countries.

Another aspect is changing minds and methods. We have circulated this topic so many times: We have gone from Gas to Coal to Pet coke, then back again through nuclear, hydro wind and solar; the problem being all energy technology is going through a rapid transition. It is now possible to predict that oil will be in greater supply as fast as it is being replaced by some other energy source or sources, including renewable energy solutions: Wind, Solar, Hydro, and Biomass.

But can we convince our leaders who have been at the forefront of a great deal of confusion regarding a solution? Boards have come, boards have gone, and energy solutions are still in the wind (no pun intended).

Indeed I have lately seen three decisions made and they are all somewhat different: LNG (gas), clean coal, and coal, and from what I gather, the last two relating to coal, which is the most environmentally destructive.

 Have we checked this out with the EPA?

(426 words)

 

 

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