Ideological cobwebs blinding some – PM
December 7, 2007
Ideological cobwebs blinding some – PM

Wanted: one cobweb broom to dust away the ideological cobwebs clouding the minds of those who object to this country’s relationship with Venezuela, especially the Petro Caribe Agreement.{{more}}

At a press conference aimed at updating the nation about the Petro Caribe Agreement and the benefits this country has been deriving from it, on November 26, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that those who oppose the agreement are being impaired by ideological cobwebs.

“Let us for a moment separate the ideological cobwebs from our minds and look at things in a real sense,” Dr Gonsalves said of the oil alliance that was launched in June of 2005.

On September 12, 2005, twelve of CARICOM’s 15 member states, Cuba and the Dominican Republic signed the agreement.

As he boasted of the EC$5 million received thus far from Alba Caribe, and the additional EC$4.6 million which represents 40 per cent of VINLEC’s diesel bill from Venezuela, Dr Gonsalves said that the arrangement under Petro Caribe is a great one.

He said that once persons get over their antipathy towards the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, then they would see the practical sense of the relationship and arrangement.

“Because if somebody gives you 40 per cent credit at one per cent over 25 years, it is extraordinarily generous,”

Dr Gonsalves said.

Under Petro Caribe, this country will pay only 60 per cent of the cost of imported fuel from Venezuela. The remaining 40 per cent can be paid over a period of 25 years, at one per cent interest. That money is used in the meanwhile for special projects.

Additionally, the Alba Caribe fund, which was set up with US$50million by Venezuela, is available to countries which are signatories to the Petro Caribe Agreement, to be used for social development and poverty alleviation.

Of the EC$5 million of this fund already accessed by this country, the Ministry of National Mobilization, the Ministry of Rural Transformation, and the Social Investment Fund have received $2.1 million, $1.7 million, and $1 million, respectively, for social development projects.

The Prime Minister suggested that if the Petro Caribe benefits were coming from traditional allies in Europe and North America, persons who now oppose, and carry an air of suspicion, would have been singing praises of agreement.

“If this had come from an ideological bed partner of some people in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Caribbean, they would be jumping on the roof and telling you how good and pleasant it is to have relations with these people,” he said.

He noted, ironically, that the Colonial powers that once fought for these territories are now working in a tightly knit European Union, while we are told to separate from Venezuela.