PetroCaribe A Lifeline For Struggling Caribbean Countries – PM

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and Venezuelan President, His Excellency Nicholas Maduro, shortly after his arrival at the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Saturday (September 5), for the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Summit of the PetroCaribe Agreement.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon Portia Simpson Miller, has underscored the significant impact the PetroCaribe Agreement has had on the economic independence of countries of the Caribbean region.
  • In a statement at the plenary session of the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Summit of the PetroCaribe Agreement in Montego on Saturday (September 5), Mrs. Simpson Miller hailed the pact as a lifeline for many of the region’s struggling economies and peoples.
  • The Prime Minister said the 10th Anniversary Summit underscores the fact that PetroCaribe has a future in the energy security and socio-economic development of Jamaica and other countries of the region.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon Portia Simpson Miller, has underscored the significant impact the PetroCaribe Agreement has had on the economic independence of countries of the Caribbean region.

In a statement at the plenary session of the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Summit of the PetroCaribe Agreement in Montego on Saturday (September 5), Mrs. Simpson Miller hailed the pact as a lifeline for many of the region’s struggling economies and peoples.

She said the Summit marks another opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean countries to jointly recognize the achievements and the importance of the accord, which has significantly helped to fortify regional economies, meet many of the social and economic development needs of the people of the region, and build strong relationships.

“Since that historic signing, the region has seen significant benefits and increased development in many areas. Additionally, PetroCaribe has engendered a sense of independence in our region,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller stated.

The PetroCaribe Energy Co-operation Agreement, formally established on June 29, 2005, is an oil alliance between Venezuela and 16 other Caribbean and Central American nations, including 15 CARICOM member states, Haiti, and Honduras, to purchase oil on preferential payment conditions.

This facility allows for oil to be purchased up front at between five and 50 per cent of market value, with a grace period of one to two years to commence making the remaining payments.

The Prime Minister contended that without the arrangement, some of the most vulnerable countries in the region would have succumbed to the global economic crisis in 2008 as well as subsequent challenges.

“It has made major contributions to improving the socio-economic development of states through investments totalling just under US$4 billion in 432 social projects to foster improvements in the standard of living of our peoples,” she said.

In Jamaica, she pointed out, investments have been made in improving the country’s road, air and seaport infrastructure; financing of micro, small and medium enterprises; and production expansion.

She said that clinker from Jamaica is being exported to Venezuela under the trade compensation mechanism of the agreement.

The Prime Minister said the 10th Anniversary Summit underscores the fact that PetroCaribe has a future in the energy security and socio-economic development of Jamaica and other countries of the region.

For his part, President of Venezuela, His Excellency Nicolas Maduro, said in evaluating the 10 years since the signing of the agreement, there is proof that the pact has contributed to the economic, social and political stability and security of the Caribbean and Latin America.

He noted that events unfolding in regions of Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Mid-east, shows that the Caribbean and Latin American region is comparatively stable and this, he suggested, is due in part, to the impact of the PetroCaribe Agreement.

President Maduro said he came to Jamaica directly from Qatar and China where he had discussions on how to get a better price for oil for countries.

Nineteen CARICOM and Latin American countries were represented at the Summit, which coincided with the 200th anniversary of Venezuelan Revolutionary Leader, Simón Bolivar’s ‘Carta de Jamaica’, or Letter of Jamaica, and 50 years of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Venezuela.

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