Technology

11/4/2020

Renewables & The Economic Liberation Of Africa & Ex-Colonies

Dr John Lennon tells us why it's time to end neocolonial domination

Dr John Lennon
Founder of Let's Build A Better Jamaica

I watched a video of the African Union ambassador, Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao regarding the continued unreported French exploitation of Africa. I was dumbfounded. $500 billion every year and I knew nothing about it? How could this be possible? How is injustice of this magnitude not common knowledge? Then again, in 2018 I discovered that when I was living in the UK, black earned tax dollars were used to reimburse the descendants of slave owners. I was then saddened to read about the firing of lioness Quao however, I was not shocked. Those who stand up for black rights get ostracised.

The fact is we are not even seen as second class citizens and to exacerbate matters, our own brothers and sisters who comprise the ruling class perpetuate the injustice. It is easily done because they are enabled by the colonisers and their organisations such as the UN, the IMF, World Bank and their NGOs and charities. They could use the climate crisis to create a fairer system - the vast majority of the minerals required for the renewable energy industry are exploited from Africa and the region is rich in free solar radiation - but as usual they sit back and watch as our product shave very little value until they arrive in the West and encourage investment in liquefied natural gas LNG.

From my experience in Jamaica, I can say with certainty that the UN et al exist to maintain the status quo and the Sustainable Development Goals are a typical example of this.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The UN could suggest that the colonisers stop abusive arrangements such as theFrench scheme, pay reparations, return all that has been stolen, pay a fair price for our products etcetera but instead they spent millions on conferences etc. to deliver the flawed SDGs:

They are a joke. The Jamaican PM claims to be a climate change advocate and humanitarian said this about the SDGs:

"Jamaica is naturally and irrevocably aligned to the SDGs and at every opportunity we reaffirm our commitment to achieving them".

He also loves tweeting:

"The measure of a good government is how they protect and actively empower the weakest and most dispossessed in the society. The measure of a good government frugality and careful management of the peoples' money and income to protect from inflation and unnecessary taxes."

Here is the entire thread and this was the comment from a friend in the UK:

Honestly, knowing the facts this is painful reading.... I'm not joking, honestly painful.  

One legacy of colonialism is educational apartheid. Quality education is SDG4 and I have been advocating for state investment in solar powered schools for over 5 years. The cost of solar panels has plummeted but this fact has miraculously escaped the UN et al. Jamaica's electricity rates are amongst the highest in the world and solar investments have payback periods under 4 years. Two high schools are partially solar powered - by charity - and both reported payback figures under a year! The government is aware but both schools still rely on the grid so are still using school fees to pay electricity bills.

The Gleaner, Jamaica WI

Fact: state owned solar powered infrastructure is economically viable and implementation would not cost taxpayers a dollar. Simply apply prudence: instead of indefinitely paying electricity bills, schools could service fixed-term loan agreements – with repayments lower than bills – to pay for their own electricity generating facilities.

But all our schools are on the grid. I presented my proposals to members of a branch of UNA-UK (independent from the UN) and this was their comment:

"The idea has potential financial, educational and of course environmental impact. Rolled out across the tropical world and indeed elsewhere it could reduce school fees and boost access to education (especially for girls), reduce carbon footprints and set an example for non-educational sectors to emulate".

I wholeheartedly agree. The members wrote to the UNA senior management but received excuses instead of help.

The SDG process is supposed to include public participation so I submitted my proposals to the parliamentarians and the UNDP in Jamaica (I also sent them to the media, international charities and NGOs) but they refuse to provide any feedback (the UNDP oversees the SDGs).  Also, it appears that I have been blacklisted by the media. I had to rely on a columnist to write about my experiences and after publication the newspaper did not allow me to post a meaningful comment or reply to the readers online.

A third political party was registered in December 2019 and I was invited to be their spokesperson for education and energy. I accepted however, this has made no difference. My findings, which are now policies are not being reported. That is Jamaica for you.

Financing

Guterres and Holness continually bang on about financing climate mitigation and the SDGs but there will only be investment where money can be made. Funding education to reduce poverty is obvious but it has never been done so I can safely conclude that I have a better chance of marrying Kelly Rowland. Who would work in the hotels and do the jobs that their beloved children will never, ever do? Who will clean up after little Junior? The colonisers would not educate the people and neither will their puppets.

I looked at our numbers and recent borrowing. Numbers never lie. Quality education and solar panels cost money but by investing in the latter you can automatically invest in education i.e. kill two birds with one stone. So why not borrow to finance the removal of state infrastructure off the grid?

The price of solar panels has fallen 99%, but will the trend continue?

In 2016 US$1.64b was borrowed from the IMF to quote, "support the country's ongoing reform program to tackle poverty, create jobs, and improve living standards." So state investment in renewables would have been the perfect use for this cash. I would like to know how that money was used.

The following year they were broke so they borrowed US$70m from the World Bandit to "spur growth and development"? Well, state investment in renewables would have been a perfect spur! That money has disappeared.

In 2018 they borrowed US$248 million for unsanctioned and unwanted projects followed by US$55 million to splurge on a parliament building. You should see the deplorable, stinking markets but they want to swap comfort for luxury. I wouldn't give them a tree to shade under. So more than US$2 billion has been borrowed and how will it be repaid i.e. US$100m plus interest every year for 20 years? By continuing austerity that was described as the "most austere in the world" and to make matters worse, history tells us that there will be mismanagement and misappropriation of these monies. But the IMF and WB place a blood bank in the hands of vampires.

The UN and IMF residents are aware of these policies. They know that many high schools have monthly electricity bills in excess of US$10,000 (Ardenne High reported figures around US$32,000!)They are aware that electricity bills are the main reason for school destitution and fees. They know that state ownership is economically viable but they still want private sector investment, including schools.

Borrowing for everyone

If US$1 billion was borrowed for investment we know how that loan would be serviced: the 20 US$50m plus interest repayments would replace the US$150m paid to the energy supplier every year and surplus invested in education and:

This is also social intervention. There will be less idle hands and much more hope so one would expect a decrease in crime which currently costs around US$500m per annum and all this could be achieved without spending an extra tax dollar. The minister of finance recently tweeted about prudent borrowing to save over US$18m. Bravo! He should now explain why he cannot borrow for the removal of state infrastructure off the grid which costs the people over US$150m plus add energy producing assets to the island's portfolio.

Conclusion

The "developing world" suffers this injustice because of ignorance. In Europe, Iceland is a volcanic island with glaciers and has state owned geothermal energy and hydropower industries. In Jamaica, we receive copious amounts of free solar radiation but we recently committed to "clean" US LNG. This was unchallenged because the locals perceive solar power as an expensive luxury that we cannot afford hence the oppressors can gift the industry to the West. Most of the panels that the people see on public buildings are donated.The parliamentarians make sure that the world sees our nation as a charity case that cannot even afford blackboards.

Goshen Basic School, Clarendon

The technology is available to convert free energy sources - wind, solar radiation and organic waste - into electricity but our governments have created the perception that for this to be realised it would take astronomical capital investment. In Jamaica the ludicrous figure of US$7.3 billion to produce only 32% of our electricity has been reported but that shock horror, has not been queried. It would take a fraction of that amount. And because of crippling debt - caused by successive governments -renewables are perceived as unaffordable and therefore can only be implemented by the private sector. Hence our dependency will be maintained. Mission accomplished. No one asks why we do not have solar and wind powered factories making clothes and tourist merchandise; why our 400,000 school boys are attired in imported khaki uniforms. It is immoral: the investors will borrow the money, repay it from the lease payments and pocket the people's money.  

Our over dependence on imported fossil fuels is no accident and now that hydrocarbons are frowned upon, the SDGs will ensure that we will not own a wind turbine or panel. So there must be a discussion about state ownership versus private sector investment. If we allow the latter to happen without debate we will be seen as morons, and rightly so. The system is stacked against us but renewables have opened up an opportunity for African nations to start take control of their destinies. Jamaica needs solar panels but should not and will not be powered by panels created from the suffering of our brothers and sisters. There must be change.

The wealth of the West is at our expense and it is way past the time for change. One of our greatest, the honourable Robert Nesta Marley sang "Africa Unite!"That time is now.

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