She sought to clear the air during a town hall meeting at the St Thomas Parish Church earlier this week.
The official told the audience, which included Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss and head of the Barbados Private Sector Association Alex MacDonald, the research, design and build of the structure, as well as its operation and maintenance rested squarely on the shoulder of the company which is based in Canada.
“In the time that we will be building this plant, there will be five to 600 jobs created. We have, along with our contractors, and our APC, have adopted a philosophy of Barbadians first. What that means is if Barbadians have the same qualities and characteristics to do the same job as someone who would be imported, the Barbadians are the ones that get the opportunities first. “Five to six hundred jobs, based on the economy I see today in Barbados is a significant thing when it runs for approximately four years. After that when the plant is running 24/7, and the waste is going to the plant, it is not going to the landfill anymore; after that situation, you’ll find that we’ll have probably between 40 and 50 full-time jobs managing the plant as well,” Cowen said of the employment opportunities attached to the project.
Back in March, the agreement was signed between the Barbados Government and the Guernsey-based Cahill Energy to build and operate a leading edge clean energy plant.
In addition to its promise of jobs, Cahill has also pledged to stimulate growth and to help the country realise millions in savings over the lifetime of the 30 year contract.