Prizes presented to Guyana Solar Challenge 2019 winners

Winners of the Guyana Solar Challenges 2019 competition collected their prizes on Monday 18 November, at a ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

A multi-agency collaboration, the Guyana Solar Challenge was national competition to engage and educate youth nationwide about the benefits of renewable energy. Young people in Guyana between the ages of 12 and 26, were asked to harness their creative energies to raise awareness about renewable energy, specifically its potential to deliver long-term economic benefits, reduce harmful environmental impacts, and increase energy security and independence for Guyana.

Solar Head of State (SHOS), the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), the CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana Power and Light (GPL), MPC Capital, Guyana Ministry of Environment, Public Service International (PSI), and Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) teamed up for the Guyana Solar Challenge. The Challenge was a precursor to CARICOM Energy Month (CEM) that is being observed in November under the theme “Empowering People, Building Resilience”.

Renuka Persaud won the first prize for her self-animated video which highlighted the benefits of using solar power and the steps that Guyana is taking towards the use of renewable energy. She won $100 000.00.

Josiah Mentore with ‘The sun is out/Wake Up’  won the second prize, rapping about the benefits of renewable energy, while Omari Joseph and Esther Watson won third and fourth prizes, respectively. Omar wrote a humourous piece titled ‘ Hot sun and Blackout’, while Esther, like Josiah, chose the genre of rap music to share her perspective on the renewable energy landscape in Guyana.

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At the prize-giving ceremony, CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General and Chair of the CARICOM Energy Committee, Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, highlighted the benefits of renewable energy and going “green”. She made the comments in the context of the challenges, particularly those related to climate change, that the Region faced. She told those gathered at the ceremony that the impact of all the efforts and investments in clean energy must be felt at the individual, community and country levels, and that they had to be cost effective.

She emphasised the importance of youth to influence change among their peers and other demographics, as well as policy-makers, and encouraged them to dedicate themselves to working towards a secure, safe and sustainable future.

“You are also a group that could influence the older group, starting in your homes, in schools, in your community by giving the good example and by singing the song on a daily basis. I am sure that will also trigger older people to change,” Amb. Soeknandan said.

Mr. James Ellsmor, Director of Solar Head of State, pointed out that the Challenge was the second that was done in the Region. The first was done in Jamaica. He extended gratitude to the partners and participants and noted that the high quality of entries made judging a challenge.

Speaking on behalf of the GIZ, which partners with the Secretariat, Mr. Bernd Garbers highlighted the organisation’s programmes to tackle sustainable energy and climate resilience in the Caribbean at the policy and other levels.

Ms. Sandra Massiah, Sub-Regional Secretary for the Caribbean, Public Services International, Mr. Fernando Zuniga,  Director for Central America and the Caribbean, MPC Capital, Ms. Shevion Sears-Murray, Public Relations Officer, Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) and Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM Secretariat, all made remarks at the ceremony.

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