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During the recently concluded training workshop on Alternatives to Ozone Depleting Substances Technology for the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (RAC)sector, held in Grenada from November 27-29, 2012, over thirty five technicians from several Caribbean states took the opportunity to discuss the establishment of a regional association for refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians.

The idea to establish this regional body received overwhelming support from the technicians at the workshop. President of the Association of technicians in the Bahamas, Mr. William Sturrup and Secretary of the St. Lucia Association, Mr. Frederick Beausoleil led the charge in the establishment of a working committee.  This committee’s primary responsibility is to put the appropriate measures in place that would lead to the establishment of the regional association.

It is expected that this association would comprise of representatives from all member states of the English Speaking Caribbean and Haiti. The interim committee that was established comprised of the various presidents of the association that was presentat the workshop: Mr. Henry Frederick of Grenada, Mr. Gary Peters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. William Sturrup of the Bahamas and Mr. Albert Leming of Suriname.  Also forming part of the committee are, Mr. Randolph Ask from Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. Frederick Beausoleil from St. Lucia and Mr. Grantley Parris of Barbados. Representative of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize who were present could not confirm their inclusion on the committee since they needed to consult with their respective associations before doing so.

In the short term the committee would meet electronically and would set up a support structure that would include a chairperson and other administrative officers to guide the operations of the committee.

Program Officer from the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Marco Pinzon who was present was elated at such an initiative and encouraged the technicians to seek assistance from their National Ozone Units and respective governments for support in establishing the association.  While not committing UNEP ROLAC to any assistance, Mr. Pinzon did hinted that there might be a window of opportunity where some form of support can be given to such an initiative.

Attempts have been made in the past to establish a regional association for RAC technicians with out any success. It is left to be seen whether or not this renewed effort could deliver more positive results.