Front Page
July 8, 2005

If things work out well between Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, St. Vincent and the Grenadines ought to be getting a better deal on its purchasing of oil supplies.

Dr. Gonsalves was among CARICOM leaders who held talks in the Venezuelan calptal last week on the Perocaribe Agreement. {{more}}St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of 16 countries in Caracas where the main topic was energy supplies.

The Vincentian Prime Minister referred to a visit here in November 2001 when President Chavez had announced plans to present the Caribbean countries with a better energy package. Dr. Gonsalves noted however, that the Accord was not implemented owing to the political struggle that had engulfed the South American State.

The renewed Petrocaribe offer by Venezuela extends for 25 years with interest rates at one percent, including a two-year grace period. The Venezuelan leader has also made it clear that if prices ever go up to $100 per barrel the rate of interest will drop further.

One key part of this deal is that St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for example will be allowed to pay for its supplies with goods and services.

Dr. Gonsalves was full of praise for the agreement between SVG and Venezuela which he said “has tremendous possibilities.”

However the Petrocaribe Agreement caused some slight friction after Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados declined to sign saying they needed to study the document further.

The issue was raised at the CARICOM Summit which ended Wednesday in St. Lucia with Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning assuring media that “Whatever our initial differences or misunderstandings, all’s well among us and for Caricom. There is no need to worry.”