Cheaper and more
reliable fuel supplies under scrutiny as
PetroCaribe Initiative with Visiting Venezuelan Delegation
Prime Minister's Press Secretary
Prime Minister and representatives of
Friday, July 29, 2005 – Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony has met with
an official Venezuelan delegation sent by President Hugo Chavez to discuss the
mechanics of Caracas’ PetroCaribe initiative. The meeting took place at the
Office of the Prime Minister at 7:00pm Thursday.
The Venezuelan delegation was led by Senor Roberto Capriles, the General Manager
of the El Palito oil refinery, who is also a senior official of Petroleos De
Venezuela (PDVSA) the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.
The eight-member delegation was on the last leg of a whirlwind tour of the
various Caricom member-states that agreed in Venezuela last month to establish
the trans-national company to provide cheaper fuel and support for social
programmes for participating states.
The delegation discussed with the Prime Minister how the mechanisms of the
agreement could be established and both sides outlined their respective ideas on
how to proceed.
The Prime Minister said St. Lucia welcomed the initiative by the Venezuelan
President, which, he said, “comes at an opportune time when spiraling fuel
prices are draining the meager resources of small Caribbean states like St.
“With no end in sight to the petroleum price increases from traditional
sources,” the Prime Minister said the region’s non-oil producing states remained
“exceedingly vulnerable and at the mercy of traditional suppliers.”
As such, he noted, the initiative to supply cheaper fuel and alternative energy
supplies to Venezuela’s Caribbean neighbours was “a magnificent gesture that
will go a long way in addressing the pressing energy needs of the region.”
Dr Anthony said St. Lucia and the other non-oil producing Caricom member-states
have “never before had such an excellent opportunity to address the important
national problem of energy supplies that we all face.”
Heads of Government and their representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, the
Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana,
Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis,
Suriname and Venezuela signed the agreement in Puerto La Cruz on June 29, 2005
to establish PetroCaribe, a multi-national company to be owned by the
Under the initiative, Venezuela will provide cheaper fuel to participating
Caribbean and Latin American states, with special and differential treatment for
smaller and less developed states like St. Lucia.
Venezuela proposes to pay between 5% and 50% of the cost of oil per barrel on a
sliding scale of prices ranging from US$15 per barrel to US$100 per barrel. And
Caracas offers even more special treatment for highly-indebted poor countries
Unveiling the initiative, the Venezuelan President said it was being proposed in
light of current global economic trends that lead to greater marginalization of
developing countries whose economies depended on foreign sources for economic
President Chavez said today’s unfair global economic order featured enormous
wastage in consumer societies which negatively impact on the social conditions
in Caribbean states. He noted that in many cases, agricultural exports on which
such countries depend, such as bananas and sugar, were being adversely affected
by lower prices paid by the developed nations.
In such circumstances, said President Chavez, Caribbean countries needed to have
access to cheaper and reliable sources of energy, with assurances that prices
will not represent an obstacle to their development.
He said the PetroCaribe initiative is aimed at addressing these needs and
invited the signatory member-states to activate it soon.
The Venezuelan initiative also includes a special US$50 million fund for social
and economic development in the participating states, with possibilities for
assistance in such areas as housing, infrastructure and education.
Prime Minister Anthony asked the visiting Venezuelan delegation to convey his
appreciation to President Chavez for his support for the Caribbean’s efforts to
secure better prices for agricultural commodities such as bananas and sugar.
The Prime Minister also offered the assurance that St. Lucia is ready and
willing to participate fully in the PetroCaribe initiative.
The Venezuelan delegation left Castries on Friday morning after having visited
all the participating members-states in the region.