The National Ozone Unit within the Department of Environment has been working on reducing the Federation’s emissions of ozone depleting substances since 1998, said Minister Hamilton, during a ceremony to hand over equipment to aid the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Department at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). He added that in St. Kitts and Nevis the main users of the Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) are in refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors and consequently, the main focus for the Federation has been to provide training and awareness raising in these sectors.
“They have become fundamental to our quality of life. In that regard, the Department of Environment has partnered with the CFBC to deliver a robust up-to-date technical training in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector,” he said.
CFBC is the leading source of trained technicians who “meet the service personnel shortfall in the sector,” said Minister Hamilton.
“Many of our previous trainees have gone on to be lead technicians in various companies and organizations not only in St. Kitts, but across the world,” he said. “The Department of Environment is keenly interested in promoting sustainable development within the Federation in ways that would not only benefit the environment as a whole but would also practically build the capacity within our education system.”
The minister stated that in order to further these aims the department has promised to seek out funding that would benefit the students as well as the college and the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Department.
The Minister of Environment said that in fulfilling its mandate to improve the standards of the sector, the Department of Environment will be working with the college and with the technicians to deliver a certification programme this year.
“I want to thank the Department of Environment and the college for moving in that direction so that you can have a certification in this area,” he said.
The long standing work of the Department of Environment has been to ensure that the decisions that are made internationally through the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer do not place an undue burden on the persons operating within the refrigeration and the air-condition sector, said Minister Hamilton.
“Through the funding provided by the Multilateral Fund, the Department of Environment has through the years provided training in safe handling of refrigerants, promoted good practices in refrigeration and exposed technicians and suppliers of refrigerants to the emerging trends in the sector and that is just to name a few of the important initiatives,” he said.
The Department of Environment has also provided and continues to provide training for the Customs Department to identify imported refrigerants that prevent illegal trade, said the minister.
“To us in the ministry and in the department it is obvious that refrigeration and air-conditioning sector is critical to the developing nation,” said Minister Hamilton. “Not from just ensuring that our citizens are cool and comfortable, but even more importantly in safeguarding the integrity of our food supply. We as a nation have become highly dependent on these unheralded technicians who are the hard working men and women who often toil in the background without praise.”