Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2022. 2:46 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Stabroek News of Guyana reports that coming out of the 43rd Regular Session of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an agreement has been reached to restart the PetroCaribe program with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, sanctions by the United States notwithstanding.
According to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Venezuela will begin supplying several CARICOM countries with oil as regional heads have agreed to resume the PetroCaribe agreement and have called for the end to US sanctions that brought it to an end. He noted that the U.S. itself is in talks with Venezuela on energy issues and, he said, recently allowed Venezuela to provide oil to European countries in need due to the global energy crisis.
For this reason, Dr. Gonsalves said Venezuela and CARICOM have decided to resume the PetroCaribe agreement – “all things being equal with a 35 [percent] off the top, upfront”, according to Radio Jamaica. He said the CARICOM heads will not be approaching the US for the removal of sanctions on Venezuela in a combative manner.
Launched in 2005, the PetroCaribe Arrangement allowed participating countries to purchase oil at market value, paying a percentage of the cost upfront with the balance paid over 25 years at one percent interest. Savings were put toward social programs in the participating countries.
In Belize’s case, more than $450 million was obtained, part of which was sunk into the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) for various public auditoria and sporting centers countrywide. Prime Minister John Briceno and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Courtenay said recently that Belize had had difficulty reaching any agreement for debt forgiveness and restarting PetroCaribe with Venezuela in light of the U.S. sanctions.
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