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PM says Government still interested in oil initiative

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Energy Task Force to Discuss PetroCaribe Agreement With Venezuelans This Month

Friday, January 6, 2006 - The Government of St. Lucia remains deeply interested in the PetroCaribe Agreement. That's the word from Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony.

The Prime Minister says the Government “remains interested” in the offer by Venezuela of cheaper fuel, notwithstanding the recent criticism of the Venezuelan initiative by former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Sir John Compton.

Sir John recently claimed that the Venezuelan initiative, which has been embraced by most CARICOM member-states, may upset the United States and result in punitive actions against them. He also argued that closer CARICOM relations with Cuba could also upset Washington.

However, Prime Minister Anthony says Sir John's statements regarding Venezuela and Cuba's relations with CARICOM “not only reek of the Cold War, but are also inconsistent with present-day political realities.”

He said: “The Government of St. Lucia will never surrender its sovereignty to any country. We will pursue initiatives, once they are in the interest of the people of St. Lucia.”

The Prime Minister pointed out that, “contrary to what Sir John thinks and says, there are cities and states in the United States of America that have made use of the Venezuelan offer to make cheaper fuel available to citizens.”

He asked: “If US cities can make use of the Venezuelan oil initiative, why then shouldn't St. Lucia enjoy the benefits of cooperation with and assistance from Venezuela?”

The Prime Minister indicated that St. Lucia would soon be engaging the Venezuelans in further discussions on the agreement.

He pointed out that “the Government's Task force on Energy Conservation has been meeting on the PetroCaribe initiative and I am hoping that the committee will be in a position later this month to hold discussions with the Government of Venezuela on the agreement.”

Prime Minister Anthony noted that “St. Lucia is not alone” in embracing the initiative, pointing out that “several other CARICOM member-states have also been making use of the facility.”

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