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Powerful Speakers for Caribbean Utility Regulators Confab

Published:Sunday | September 11, 2016 | 9:22 AM
Professor Hopeton Dunn
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Albert Gordon
Joseph M. Matalon , chairman of First Angels Jamaica, speaks at the ‘Connecting the Dots’ workshop held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on July 13, 2016.
Dr Horace Chang
Andrew Wheatley

A powerful line-up of speakers will address next month's Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR) 14th annual conference in Montego Bay, St James.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is among those confirmed for the conference, set for the Secrets Resorts and Spa, under the theme, "Regulation: Creating a Spectrum of Opportunities in the Caribbean". It will run over three days - October 26 to 28.

OOCUR, a non-profit organisation, was established in 2002 by the signatories of six utility regulators across the Caribbean, including Jamaica's Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR). It was established to assist in the improvement of utility regulation, facilitate understanding of regulation issues and undertake research, training and development.

Officials of the OUR will be featured heavily in the conference's proceedings. Among those expected to participate are Albert Gordon, director general, and Joseph Matalon, the chairman. Also expected to address participants from across the Caribbean is Dr Andrew Wheatley, minister of science, energy, technology. This will be his first major conference in Jamaica as portfolio minister in the Holness administration.

The conference should be fully energised when Andrew Thorington, from the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation, presents on the electric utility-regulator relations in the Caribbean. With raging debate in recent times about the need for cleaner energy, there will be a four-member panel discussion on the issue. The participants include Dan Potash, representing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Winston Robotham of the OUR; David Cooke of the Jamaica Public Service; and Dr Xavier Lemaire of University College, London Energy Institute.

The telecommunications regulators are expected to take centre stage on the second day of the conference. Professor Hopeton Dunn, chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, and Julian Wilkins of Caribbean Focus, Global Perspective, are among those expected to make presentations. The day will end with the meeting of the general assembly and then a meeting of OOCUR's executive council.

Horace Chang, the minister with responsibility for water and housing, will make his presentation on the final day. His ministry has taken on much of the regulatory responsibilities for much of the country's public bodies and agencies.

There will also be presentations from Skeeta Carasco, regulatory economist at the National Utilities Regulatory Commission, and Dwight DaCosta, deputy chief of party, USAID.