The Government of Saint Lucia today (Nov. 10) signed the PetroCaribe Joint Venture Agreement with the oil-rich South American nation – the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The signing took place at the Office of the Prime Minister in the presence of several representatives from both countries, who witnessed the landmark agreement.
The agreement will seek to foster trade between Saint Lucia and Venezuela to facilitate customs, transportation and operations for PetroCaribe projects.
It will also enact the mechanism which will initiate trade in petroleum products between the two nations.
According to the government, Saint Lucia will start doing business specifically with asphalt. While it has intentions of doing business with diesel and petrol, this could not be done at this time.
“But we are hoping in the near future, working with the team in Venezuela and the embassy in Saint Lucia; we will be able to overcome some of these ticklish problems,” a foreign service officer noted.
It was also pointed out that despite the decrease in oil prices on the global market; Venezuela maintains that it will keep its promises to countries that form part of PetroCaribe and ALBA groupings.
President of PetroCaribe Bernardo Alvarez said he is happy that the Government of Saint Lucia has agreed to sign the new agreement, which will pave the way for a greater working relationship with Venezuela.
“We are moving in the direction of finalizing the negotiation for the PetroCaribe agreement to Saint Lucia, which means that Saint Lucia will increase its energy security. But at the same time, it will profit from the funds that Petrocaribe is going to put for programmes of social and economic development.”
Alvarez highlighted that Saint Lucia has received significant support from ALBA, explaining that PetroCaribe will also bring the same benefits and in some cases even more.
Petrocaribe marked its 10th anniversary in June 2015. The 17-member alliance includes six independent members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States – Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.