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PM to Appeal to T&T on Behalf of OECS

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Monday, August 23, 2004 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony has said that the recent soaring oil prices spell disaster for developing countries particularly the non-oil based CARICOM economies, and would seek assistance from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago with the aim of cushioning the impact.

Oil prices have now soared to record levels on the world market, topping the US$50 mark per barrel. The last time Dr. Anthony addressed the nation on oil prices in July, prices had risen from US$19.41 per barrel in January 2002 to a peak of US$42.33 per barrel on June 1, 2004. On Friday (August 21), the price per barrel of crude oil went just over US$50. And although it went down to US$47 per barrel on Monday (August 23), analysts around the world predicted that this was only a temporary decrease.

Citing the inability of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production so as to decrease prices, the analysts said that the runaway price per barrel could soon reach a high of US$60 per barrel.

Dr. Anthony said that the situation was so serious that it warranted discussions with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, to assist the member-states of the OECS to cushion the impact of the increased oil prices. In this regard, he said that he would activate a decision of the Heads of Government of the OECS to enter into talks with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago on matters of mutual interest between the OECS and the twin-island, oil rich republic.

One such subject of mutual interest said the Prime Minister, was petroleum. He said that he would write his Trinidad & Tobago counterpart, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, on his return to work after completing medical attention in Cuba, proposing a meeting between Trinidad & Tobago and a sub-committee of OECS Prime Ministers to discuss bilateral matters.

A report carried in the Sunday (August 22) issue of Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday newspaper indicated that the oil-based Republic stood to earn a windfall from the current steep prices for oil on the world market.



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