Country Expected to Stay on Standard Time

May 19, 2006

The Costa Rican government this week ruled out the possibility of following its Central American neighbors in adopting Daylight Saving Time, in which clocks would be advanced by one hour.

Such a step would have followed time changes in Nicaragua and Guatemala, which moved ahead their clocks at the end of April, and Honduras, which followed suit May 6. All cited energy-saving motives behind the change.

Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles recommended to the President’s Cabinet meeting Wednesday that this country not make the time change. He explained that Costa Rica’s ability to generate hydroelectric power and the anticipation of a wetter-than-normal rainy season this year buffers it somewhat from the high petroleum-generated energy costs suffered by its northern neighbors.

Such a shift would have extended daylight hours by an hour into the evening, making sunrise arrive to Costa Rica at 6:30 or 7 a.m. – and caused worry about children going to school while it is still dark.

Costa Rica has experimented with Daylight Saving Time on several occasions in the past, but without much success.

Business leaders expressed concern that if Costa Rica doesn’t move its clocks ahead, Customs and Immigration facilities will close “earlier” on the Nicaraguan side of the northern border, and Costa Rican firms conducting business with their Central American neighbors will need to adjust their schedules.

A move to change the time in El Salvador is supported by President Antonio Saca, and is under review in that country’s Legislative Assembly, reported the Salvadoran daily La Prensa Gráfica.

 

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