Professor Agard: T&T needs zero emissions plan
Nobel Peace Prize winner, academic author, researcher, tertiary-level professor and
independent advisor, Dr. John Agard
By Raphael John Lall / TT Guardian
Petroleumworld 11 29 2021
Director of the St Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Professor John Agard said T&T needs to change its governance model to solve pressing problems like poverty and other social ills.
“We have to change the governance model of having a government and an opposition. I can’t say this in any polite way because they only criticise each other and have difficulty acting in the best interest of the people.
“I know that others suggested changing the model where even Lloyd Best had proposed proportional representation but that’s not going to happen in Trinidad and Tobago as that requires a constitutional change,” he said.
Agard, who was contributing to an online forum on T&T’s structural reforms hosted by the Trade and Economic Development Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, added that the British model the country inherited during colonial times has not worked.
“In Parliament, there is a bench on one side which has the Government and on the other side, there is a bench of other people as well.
“The Red House was designed on the British model and essentially between one bench and the other bench they are two sword lengths apart. They were deliberately designed on the British model. This is idiotic.
“The story of behaviour change arises out of our culture that arose out of slavery and indentureship. When there was a massa. Massa told people not to do thinking, just follow instructions.
“The surprise is when your own people replace massa, they are doing the same thing, just following instructions. That is part of the culture change that is required in T&T. It seems that nothing was learned from the colonial period,” Agard said.
He expressed concern about the underlying racial divide which few want to admit exists in the country and urged the Government to adopt practices that would see T&T reducing its carbon footprint.
“The Prime Minister stated at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference that oil and gas will not go away anytime soon.
“Trinidad and Tobago will be dependent on oil and gas for a long time but it has to come up with a plan about carbon dioxide zero emissions,” Agard said.
“In the same way that the oil and gas companies in Trinidad and Tobago have stated that they’re moving away from oil and gas, it’s energy that they sell. They see where the world is heading and where climate change is a major issue.
“They will produce the energy from renewable energy with mills, solar panels and so forth. They have dates to exit from the petrochemical sector. Trinidad and Tobago needs to do the same.”
Commenting on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley statement that T&T has the largest renewable energy project in the Caribbean which should produce about 10 per cent of the country’s energy needs in the future, Agard said: “Trinidad and Tobago needs to come up with a roadmap plan of when they will reach zero carbon dioxide emissions. Whether it is 2050 or 2070 they have to do it in an organised manner.”