May 13, 2021

Analyst says Petro Caribe helped Caribbean economies survive eight years of crisis

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Arvel Grant, Sightsavers ambassador from Jamaica

Arvel Grant, Sightsavers ambassador from Jamaica

By Ken Richards From WINN

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Caribbean countries are being warned about the possibility of having to look to alternative sources of oil, after the recently elected Opposition coalition in Venezuela announced it will review agreements under the Petro Caribe energy pact.

These countries include the OECS states which obtain Venezuelan oil on concessionary terms.

Prior to the recent parliamentary elections in Venzuela, President Maduro during a trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines stressed that Petro Caribe was more than just an energy pact.

“There should be no doubt in our minds that Petro Caribe today is the backbone of the energy, social and economic development of our region,” he said.

The Venezuelan president now has to contend with a parliamentary majority in Caracas intent on taking a critical look at Petro Caribe.

One leading parliamentarian,Tomas Guanipa, the re-elected deputy to the National Assembly is quoted as saying that Venezuela’s oil is for Venezuelans.

“We cannot continue selling oil in twenty years when we are in need of immediate resources. We will promote that our oil is for Venezuelans,” he said.

Antigua-based analyst Arvel Grant tells Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture that Petro Caribe has made a significant impact on the region.

“Petro Caribe is a fundamental part of the reason most of the Caribbean economies have survived the crisis that we’ve all gone through over the past eight years,” Grant contends.

“I think that any significant change in the way it is configured now will probably cause some significant difficulty for most of the economies,” he said.

Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says while Petro Caribe is important to Kingstown, the country does have other options.

“By the end of 2018 I expect to have 80 per cent of the electricity in this country generated by renewable energy,” Gonsalves explained.

Twelve of the countries of the 15-member Caribbean Community have signed on to the Petro Caribe agreement.

They include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Kitts and Nevis.

Prime Minister Timothy Harris has been telling The Bigger Picture that Petro Caribe is important to the federation, and any watering down of the arrangement would impact in a negative way.

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