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"Sustainable energy drives sustainable development," says Lelei LeLaulu

“Sustainable energy drives
sustainable development,” says an organiser of the Caribbean Media Exchange
on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx). Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart
International, said CMEx would be examining the importance of renewable and
energy-efficient technologies when delegates meet for the sixth conference
in St. Lucia June 24-28, 2004.
Counterpart International, which played a lead role in the 1999 Global
Conference on Renewable Energy Islands in Denmark, believes public awareness
of the critical importance of renewable energy to sustainable development is
generally low in small island developing states, and politicians can effect
change by raising the issue to cabinet level.

LeLaulu recalled St. Lucia was declared a “Renewable Energy Island” by Prime
Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony in a “bold and brilliant move” at global climate
conferences in Bonn and The Hague a few years ago. Last week Belize Deputy
Prime Minister John Briceno told a climate change workshop in Port-of-Spain
that the dependence of the Caribbean on imported energy was impeding the
region’s sustainable economic development.

CMEx, which seeks to increase the input of the media in the design of
sustainable tourism policies and highlights the necessity of tourism to the
economies of small island states, will feature energy experts debating
wide-ranging perspectives.

“With high energy costs in the Caribbean, our message to hotels has
consistently focused on efficiency and reduction of consumption through
implementation of environmental management systems (EMS),” commented Deidre
Shurland, director of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST),
which advocates for adoption of best renewable energy practices and savings
through investments in technologies by small, medium and large hotels. She
cautions however, “that hotels should carefully assess the suitability of
available technologies and specifically target the operational areas where
energy consumption is especially high.” In addition, “investments in solar
panels, energy saving bulbs and energy efficient air conditioning systems
have proven to be effective cost saving measures for hotels,” she said.

Shurland will be part of a CMEx panel discussion which includes foreign
correspondent and media consultant Ian Williams, Loreto
Duffy-Mayers, environmental manager of Casuarina Beach Club in Barbados and
Ross “Cruise Junkie” Klein, Associate Professor at Memorial University in
Newfoundland, Canada.