News Release

Five Receive CDB-sponsored CARICOM Women in Sustainable Energy (W.I.S.E) 2023 Awards

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Several people stand on a stage below the words CARICOM Women in Sustainable Energy Awards

Five women, who have made outstanding contributions to energy and climate resilience in the Caribbean, received Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) sponsored, CARICOM Women in Sustainable Energy (W.I.S.E) Awards at the 16th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) held recently, in Miami, Florida.

Chosen from a pool of 12 nominees, the winners included Ms. Purdy Gouveia, Project Manager at the Caribbean Utilities Company, Cayman Islands, who received the award for Utilities and Industry, and the Hon. Kerryne James, Minister of Climate Resilience, The Environment and Renewable Energy, Grenada, who was recognised as a Youth Leader. Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, Associate Vice President of Sustainable Energy, University of Technology Jamaica, got the nod for Policy and Regulations while Ms. Angella Rainford, CEO/ Founder Soléco Energy Jamaica was cited for her contribution to Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance. Rounding out the winners' circle was Ms. Rachel Sedacy Marketer and Business Consultant, Fifth Element Consulting/LAIT Up Belize, who was lauded for Social Impact, Community and Advocacy.

In addition, Dr. Indra Haraksingh, Lecturer at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, received a CARICOM W.I.S.E Lifetime Achievement Award.

In commenting on the significance of CARICOM W.I.S.E, CDB Acting President, Mr. Isaac Solomon, explained that the Bank supported the awards scheme because of the importance of promoting gender equality to encourage women to pursue careers in the Energy sector which remains one of the most imbalanced in terms of female representation.

“Female-headed households and businesses owned by women may face financial constraints in investing in energy and renewable energy technologies and in this regard, CDB continues to integrate gender equality consideration to address the inequitable access by women in the sector. CDB’s funding support is in keeping with the Bank’s policy and strategy for the promotion of gender equality in all sectors,” Mr. Solomon said.

Also, in his contribution to a Leadership Panel at CREF 2024, Mr. Solomon reaffirmed CDB's commitment to advancing sustainable energy in the Caribbean. Since 2015, the Bank has approved roughly USD 275 million for over 65 sustainable energy projects, representing 10% of its total funding. CDB financed streetlight retrofitting projects in six Caribbean countries including Jamaica, where 25,000 LED streetlights were installed, which was the world's largest installation at the time.

The Bank has also implemented a GeoSmart Initiative to assist Eastern Caribbean nations in utilising geothermal energy from their volcanic landscapes. Over 750 individuals have received training from the CDB in collaboration with the European Union, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission. The Bank also collaborated with other organisations to conduct the Caribbean's largest training programme for technicians and inspectors in solar PV system installation and inspection. More than 260 people obtained certifications, enabling them to contribute to energy projects and become entrepreneurs.