Minister of Environment and National Beautification Adrian Forde credits the late Dr Denis Lowe for laying the foundation for the work he now does in his ministry.
Forde was giving his obituary speech during Friday’s morning session of the House of Assembly for the former Member of Parliament, with whom he said he was proud to have been associated.
He made the point that Lowe had the unenviable task of trying to convey the severity of climate change and its potential impact at a time when it was generally seen as unimportant.
“He was Minister of Environment (and Drainage) back then between 2008 to 2018 and at that time, people thought it (climate change) was a misnomer. It was something that didn’t exist. That was the type of distancing that we had in Barbados as it relates to a true and natural phenomenon, one that has rumbled the world in such a way that we are now handcuffed to the vagaries of climate change. This phenomenon will not only impact the lives of this current generation but the lives of the future so the future of the world is in peril as we speak.”
Forde continued: “There was another phenomenon that Dr Lowe was adamant about when he launched the National Ozone Depleted Substance phase out support scholarships for students. That was for persons enrolled in the Diploma for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology. He had the vision then to ensure that the young persons who had that technical expertise were taught the importance of having the phase out of these harmful chemicals.”
“The Antarctica in the Southern hemisphere has been under repairs for the better part of 44 years. That, the arctic and the rest of the ozone layer and stratosphere has been under repair because we in this country and around the world have started the phase out of ozone depleting substances and Denis Lowe started it locally when as Minister he ensured we had a programme here in Barbados. We now have to find those ozone friendly alternatives to air conditioning and that is why it is important to understand the work.”
Forde said his Ministry was continuing that work by aiming to have a complete phase out of ozone depleting substances by 2025. There will also be a phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2030 and Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by 2045. Both of those are chemical compounds commonly used in refrigeration and cooling and play a massive role in destroying the ozone layer (which absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation) and contributing to climate change.
The Minister expressed his condolences to Lowe’s family who attended the morning session of the House of Assembly
“Without a doubt he was able to capture the imagination of those not only at the national and regional level but also at those in the international sphere. I want to say to the family thank you for lending us Dr Denis Lowe, his work and his contribution to the landscape of Barbados will forever be etched not only in the hallowed chambers of this August Chamber but the geographical space of Christ Church East,” Forde said.
Lowe served as the Minister of Environment and Drainage for the Democratic Labour Party from 2008 to 2018 when he lost the Christ Church East seat to the incumbent Wilfred Abrahams who is the Minister of Home Affairs and Information. He passed away on September 16, 2022 and was laid to rest at Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens on October 8. (JC)