Minister of State for the Environment the Hon. Phenton Neymour will be among Commonwealth Ministers and Parliamentarians who will gather in Tobago November 15 and 16 to participate in an international parliamentary meeting on climate change and energy access.

According to Minister Neymour, the legislators will have an opportunity to interview and dialogue with experts from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean and discuss ways to improve renewable energy and alternative sources throughout the Caribbean.

Minister Neymour said, “We think that it is critical that The Bahamas plays a role in this conference and so I will be going to meet with fellow ministers throughout the Commonwealth to discuss avenues and issues such as financing and policy implementation in regards to renewable energy.

“We will also address the various efficiency options available to us for instance wind, solar and solar thermal which are sources applicable for The Bahamas. It is critical that The Bahamas be a part of this entire process. We will also look at geo-thermal,” he added.

According to a release issued by the Ministry of the Environment, the meeting is organized by e-Parliament, a new global forum which engages national legislators through polls and hearings in exchanging policy ideas and in working together across borders on issues of common concern.

Minister Neymour said, in light of the recent “turmoil” and price hikes in the oil industry since 2007, the Government of The Bahamas took steps to improve its position regarding renewable energy and explore alternative sources of energy.

“We took the position that it was critical that we begin work on the National Energy Policy which is nearing completion, and we also made the decision to have The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) seek proposals on renewable energy throughout The Bahamas for all islands – all 29 locations where we generate energy,” he stated.

Minister Neymour noted that the Government also took the initiative to be a part of the Washington International Renewable Energy Renewable Conference (WIREC) with United States President George Bush and held in Washington DC in March of this year.

He said, “We dialogued with fellow ministers from around the world and high government officials of the United States with a view to improving the use of renewable energy and alternative sources throughout the world and setting objectives for each country. The Bahamas, in its National Energy Policy, will outline some of those objectives.”

The meeting is a third in a series of international parliamentary hearings on climate change and energy access for the poor in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions. The most recent hearing took place in Ghana in September, 2008.

The release states that the Tobago meeting will be the first held at an inter-regional level in which participants will have an opportunity to question experts and discuss how to most effectively meet the growing demand for energy in an age of increasing fuel prices, while simultaneously addressing the growing dangers of climate change and ensuring that the poor have adequate access to energy.