March 3, 2006

No agreement yet in Texaco talks

TEXACO and Government officials met at the bargaining table again on Tuesday, February 28 and though the meeting was productive, they did not come to a conclusion. {{more}}

At press time Wednesday, a senior government official told SEARCHLIGHT that TEXACO presented some of the information that the Government’s team had requested. And on that basis a meeting will be held with other stakeholders such as Simpson Oil Limited (SOL) and St.Vincent Motors next week. The Government’s team is also preparing to brief Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on the matter when he returns from Malaysia.

Addressing Parliament on Thursday, February 23, on the negotiation with Texaco who are calling for increased prices for Liquefied Petroleum Gasoline, Dr. Gonsalves said: “I have always repeated that I do not want to run TEXACO.”

Rather, he mentioned that he is interested in getting petroleum products for Vincentians at the most favourable prices. The Prime Minister noted he has a responsibility to protect the consumer.

Dr. Gonsalves said the discussions with TEXACO thus far have been cordial.

“I cannot speak ill of TEXACO in that regard,” Dr. Gonsalves added.

Her outlined that on February 22 he received a letter from TEXACO stating that the company is in the process of gathering all the information that the Government representatives required.

He said the company expressed concern about media reports that they have seen in the St.Vincent and the Grenadines press recently which they claimed misrepresented their intentions and goals. When the matter of TEXACO threatening to pull out of St.Vincent and the Grenadines surfaced, SEARCHLIGHT contacted the local management who declined to comment on the issue.

Dr. Gonsalves said TEXACO explained that their previous communication was not intended as a threat to the government or anyone else.

‘If we did not express ourselves correctly I would like to take this opportunity to apologize and correct the situation. Our intention is to work together so that we can arrive at a solution that will be beneficial to all parties,’ said Dr. Gonsalves as he quoted from the letter sent by TEXACO’s District Manager to Parliament.

Dr.Gonsalves said he was grateful for the communication and expressed the desire to have TEXACO continue to supply and operate in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Meanwhile, 12,000 cylinders of Liquefied Petroleum Gasoline (LPG) cylinders are expected to arrive here from Venezuela today or tomorrow.

On Thursday, February 23, 7,000 cylinders each of 22.2 pounds of LPG along with 100 hundred pound cylinders landed in St.Vincent and the Grenadines under the Petrocaribe Agreement.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves in Parliament last Thursday as he updated the nation on the Petrocaribe Agreement.

The Prime Minister said every two weeks LPG will arrive from Venezuela until the filling station is operational.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that negotiations with TEXACO were expected to continue with the company on Tuesday, February 28.