Hew to attend Caribbean Infrastructure Forum

Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Joseph Hew will attend the third Caribbean Infrastructure Forum in the Bahamas this week, where he will join other regional ministers to discuss climate change and policymaking.

The forum, known as CARIF, attracts representatives of regional governments and multilateral organizations, bankers, investors and project developers.

“The role of infrastructure, energy development and finance in building regional resilience a year after the catastrophic 2017 Hurricane Season is the focus of this year’s meeting” on Dec. 4 and 5, according to a government press release.

On Dec. 5, Mr. Hew will join fellow planning ministers from around the Caribbean region in a roundtable discussion on how resiliency and climate change issues are shaping regional policymaking. Topics to be addressed include the next steps toward a long-term, sustainable infrastructure plan, an island-by-island look at infrastructure and energy, the role of clean energy, and how regional governments are developing public-private partnerships.

“In this context, resilience means the ability to adapt to, withstand, or rapidly recover from a disaster or catastrophic event. CARIF offers an opportunity to inform local policies while sharing our own perspective and needs with many of the same people with whom we might expect to interact in the aftermath of a disaster,” Minister Hew said in the release.

“We have been lucky in the Cayman Islands to have seen little to no activity over the last several hurricane seasons,” he added. “Yet, we have only to look at our regional neighbors to remember how Hurricanes Paloma and Ivan impacted our infrastructure. If we can act now in tandem with regional partners to proactively plan for and mitigate similar disasters in the future, then we should take every opportunity to do so.”

Other topics on the 2018 agenda include trends in financing Caribbean infrastructure, developing climate-resilient water infrastructure, positioning islands for growth and the creation of Caribbean smart cities.

President of the Cayman Renewable Energy Association James Whittaker, who is among the speakers on this year’s agenda, will present on whether recent weather events have altered perspectives on how energy is generated.

Following CARIF, Mr. Hew will travel to London to join Premier Alden McLaughlin as part of the delegation taking part in the Joint Ministerial Council meetings and constitutional talks.