Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 20, 2019 (SKNIS): During the opening of the Caribbean Green Tech Start-up Bootcamp on March 19, Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, stated that governments around the world are playing a critical role in catalysing sustainable development through policies and regulations that encourage the adoption of green solutions. He noted that the Government of National Unity is one of them.

He mentioned that in early March 2019, St. Kitts and Nevis signed a Sector Budget Support Programme with the European Union (EU) to support the islands’ aim of energy self-sufficiency based on local renewable energy resources.

“The three year programme will use its budget of €5million to facilitate the integration of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies amongst the public facilities,” he said. “It will also support private sector development and participation in the renewable energy sector through the development of specific economic investments and energy reforms promoting sound and sustainable business opportunities.”

The minister also made special mention of the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF), which is the newest and most direct investment path to second citizenship in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme.

“Revenue from the SGF is used to support sustainable growth initiatives, education, climate change resilience, economic growth, infrastructure development, the enhancement of medical facilities, tourism development and the preservation of culture and our heritage,” said Minister Grant.

Also highlighted was the initiative undertaken by the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC), which has rid the island of derelict vehicles and white goods such as washing machines and refrigerators.

“This initiative involves the compacting of the said items and having them shipped to a company in the United States, who they have partnered with,” he said. “This I must say will impact our communities in a very positive light.”

The minister further stated that in the government’s attempts to diversify its economy, it has developed the tourism sector “to become one of the largest, if not the largest sector that contributes to the economic development of St. Kitts and Nevis and thus this too must innovate and develop means of contributing to the sustainability of the environment.”

Minister Grant said that St. Kitts and Nevis has been recognized both regionally and internationally as a sustainable tourist destination.

“In 2017, St. Kitts was the recipient of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO’s) Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award, and currently we are presently a finalist in this year’s World Travel and Tourism Council for Tomorrow Award in Destination Stewardship. So our efforts must be commended,” said Minister Grant.

St. Kitts is one of three countries that is vying for the coveted title. The tourism team will be travelling to Spain on April 02 to attend the awards.

The minister said that one of the most successful clean technology projects is the St. Kitts and Nevis Aquaculture Pilot Programme and Environmental Research (SNAPPER), which is an active fish farm.

“It’s lead by Dr. Barrington Browne and is also home to turtles being rehabilitated by the St. Kitts Turtle Monitoring Network,” he explained. “SNAPPER is the first attempt internationally at farming freshwater fish in 100 percent seawater. The project is constructed from mainly recycled materials and indigenous water purification systems. The project is self-sustainable and facilitates replication.”