22 technicians receive Retrofitter Licenses

Twenty-two young technicians today received their Retrofitter licenses after completing training at the Government Technical Institute (GTI).

The training, which was facilitated by the Hydrometeorological Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, forms part of Guyana’s efforts to eliminate the consumption of ozone-depleting substances through a step-wise phased-out schedule. 

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while offering remarks

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha delivering remarks at Thursday’s simple handing over exercise, said government is working to ensure more environmentally and climate-friendly technologies are utilised in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry.

“As a government, we are working to ensure the more environmentally and climate-friendly technology are utilised in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. We have, so far, been successful in eliminating some of the gases that have been destroying the ozone layer,” Minister Mustapha said.

He noted that, “we’ve also been advocating for the use of more climate-friendly substances. Climate change is a critical subject that needs to be taken seriously. As a developing country, issues surrounding climate change are extremely important. Guyana is currently experiencing severe flooding as a result of climate change. Rivers have risen and we are experiencing prolonged and more intense rainy seasons.

As a people, we should strive to secure our environment. I know that the training that you would’ve received has equipped you with the knowledge to carry out the services needed to add to what government is doing to eliminate the use of those chemicals that continue to pose a threat to our environment.”

Some of the technicians who received their Retrofitters Licence

Guyana is implementing a programme to phase out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a group of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

Chief Hydromet Officer, Dr. Garvin Cummings said for years the National Ozone Action Unit has been involved in delivering Guyana’s obligation under the Montreal Protocol for the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances. 

“The National Ozone Action Unit (NOAU) falls under the responsibility of the Hydrometeorological Service. For several years, the unit has been involved in delivering Guyana’s obligation under the Montreal Protocol for the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances. Guyana has successfully phased out Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and is now in the process of phasing out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the HFC Management Plan Project.

As the world moves towards a stronger climate and environmental knowledge, new technology is being embraced to address the challenges related to the ozone layer and also those challenges related to climate change. As the technologies evolve to address the challenges in the environment, we must also train our people so that they can adequately use these technologies and resources. Part of the NOAU’s mandate is to work with the Ministry of Education and the technical institutions to train technicians to utilise technology that are both ozone and climate-friendly,” Dr. Cummings said.

The NOAU in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Cooling Industry, and the Technical Institutes has been involved in the training of technicians in the Refrigeration and Air Condition (RAC) Sector, to upgrade their skills and ensure they perform their tasks using safe practices.

After 48 hours of training over a six-week period, technicians would then have to apply to the NOAU for their licenses. A board consisting of experts from the Refrigeration and Air Condition (RAC) Sector, the Cooling Industry, and the Ministry of Education (Technical), would then evaluate the students, with those successful later being issued with their Retrofitter license.

Guyana became a party to the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances the Deplete the Ozone Layer on 12 August 1993 and subsequently ratified the London, Copenhagen, and Montreal Amendments on July 23, 1999. 

As a party to the Montreal Protocol, Guyana is required to eliminate the consumption of ozone-depleting substances, through a step-wise phase-out schedule.  Since the ratification of the Montreal Protocol Guyana has implemented several initiatives to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

So far, there has been an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment which has already entered into force, since January 1, 2019. This now focuses on the phase-out of HFCs refrigerants, which although are Ozone friendly are known to be greenhouse gases more potent than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Hence RAC Technicians are required to continually upgrade their skills in order to handle the new refrigerants and technology and to prepare technicians to meet and deal with rising challenges that are evident in the cooling and freezing industry.