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BEST WEEK EVER:

BEST WEEK EVER:

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Geothermal Energy took another step closer to becoming a reality in SVG, with the Government officially launching a $200 million effort to install 10-15 megawatts of steam-driven energy in the Soufriere hills.

The Government’s partners in this project, Reykjavik Geothermal from Iceland, Emera Inc from Canada, and the Clinton Climate Initiative from the USA,{{more}} all seem enthusiastic about the prospects of SVG getting up to 80 per cent of our electricity needs from the energy trapped within our own volcanic mountains. The promise is that, by 2020, we will be enjoying cheaper, greener energy. It’s a promise that we hope comes true.

Unfortunately, it seems that even this project has fallen victim to the naked partisanship of the political silly season. The Opposition has buried its head in the sand, avoiding Parliamentary meetings on the pending Geothermal Bill and refusing to comment on the prospect of geothermal energy in SVG. Why can’t we all support lower electricity bills and less pollution, regardless of who we vote for on Election Day?

Runner-up:

Over 4,000 lots and 1,300 houses later, the Government’s land reform policies might not be front-page news anymore. But residents in Adelphi and Spring Village had their Best Week Ever when they received title to lands on which they were illegally squatting.

It’s quite a leap to go from the possibility of being thrown off of Crown land to having legal title that you can take to the bank for loans or pass on to your children. Some may argue that giving away State lands to illegal squatters encourages future squatting, illegality and irregular or dangerous settlements. But for the individual residents and their families, it must feel good to finally, legally, own a little piece of sweet SVG.

Land ownership plays a powerful role in breaking the cycle of poverty. Hopefully some of those latest recipients will be that much closer to achieving their dreams.

WORST WEEK EVER:

It’s not every day that an association holds a press conference to trash its own membership. But that’s exactly what happened when the National Omnibus Association (NOBA) ripped the “reckless,” “unprofessional,” “disorganized,” “lawless,” “uncomfortable” and “unsafe” nature of public transportation services offered by omnibus drivers in SVG. But while NOBA got the diagnosis right, their self-serving prescription was all wrong. Apparently, NOBA believes that one of the solutions to this problem is to force van drivers to register with NOBA itself, so that every driver will sport a NOBA issued uniform, complete with LIME logo, and boost the power of the NOBA executive with a sudden increase in membership. The truth is that NOBA is not popular within the wider van driving community, as proven by their often-ignored calls for strike action. The transparency of the NOBA registration call was matched only by their claim that bus fares should not be tied to falling gasoline prices. Wasn’t it this same NOBA executive that was recently calling for higher fares when gas prices were rising?

Runner-up:

Vincentian students pursuing their Legal Education Certificate at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago got an unwelcome surprise last week when the School informed them that their tuition had jumped 40 per cent overnight. The students were also told that the previous pay-by-instalment plan had been scrapped, and that they would have to fork over the increased tuition in advance. Part of this increase is being blamed on the SVG Government’s refusal to sign on to the Council of Legal Education, a regional cartel that attempts to monopolize the certification of lawyers in the region. Even if the Government’s reluctance to join the Council is to blame, forcing students to come up with an extra 40 per cent midstream smacks of punitive, strong-armed thuggery. Wouldn’t it be better to let these students finish their programmes, and raise tuition on the incoming group? This is unconscionable.

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