BASSETERRE: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has suggested that the PetroCaribe agreement be “tweaked” occasionally, to reflect the current global economic environment.
He told the presidents and prime ministers of several Latin American and Caribbean nations, during the Sixth PetroCaribe Summit which his country hosted last week, that the PetroCaribe agreement has changed significantly since it was first conceptualized in 2005.
“The world is now experiencing a full-blown economic crisis that is particularly threatening to small-island states. Moreover, energy prices have fallen dramatically and although they have rebounded somewhat over the past few months, they are still far from the record levels of last year.
“This suggests that the environment in which the PetroCaribe Agreement is being implemented is very dynamic, and it would be necessary to tweak the formula from time to time with a view to ensuring that the arrangement reflects current economic realities and brings maximum benefits to the intended beneficiaries,” Dr. Douglas said.
The PetroCaribe deal is a financial arrangement that allows participating states to buy oil from Venezuela at market value. Only a percentage of the imported fuel is paid for upfront. The remainder may be paid over a 25-year period with a one per cent interest charge while the funds deferred from the initiative are used to finance various social programs.
Douglas said he was looking forward to the development of social projects that will further enhance the quality of life for all signatories to the agreement.
Douglas also said it was important for other small-island states to have a well-managed energy program.
“Whether the source is fossil, wind or geothermal, the fundamental issue is that energy must be produced and used in the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner, through the use of modern and appropriate technologies,” he said.