BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 8TH 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis is among Petrocaribe member states agreeing to create a new economic zone and granted membership to Honduras and Guatemala at the 7th summit that ended in Caracas, Venezuela on Sunday.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas was represented at the Summit and the Ninth Ministerial Council by Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett. Other members of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Lenrick Lake and Mr. Levi Bradshaw.
Venezuela created Petrocaribe in 2005 to sell fuel to Latin American and Caribbean nations at cheaper prices and help finance their oil infrastructure projects.
Venezuelan President His Excellency Nicolas Maduro said the planned economic zone for Petrocaribe member states and other regional blocs is designed to boost regional development by promoting joint investments in trade, tourism, industry, agribusiness and science.
Venezuela has also proposed the establishment of a permanent headquarters in Caracas for the Petrocaribe Secretariat.
In 2012, Venezuela supplied on average 108,000 barrels of oil a day to 14 Petrocaribe members, or 40 percent of their energy needs.
Speaking at the start of the meeting, Maduro said regional alliances such as Petrocaribe are growing stronger, despite attempts by the “international right wing” to sow division among Latin American countries.
“They look at us with absolute scorn, as if they would be happy to see Petrocaribe fall apart. But Petrocaribe is consolidating and growing stronger,” said Maduro.
Minister of Petroleum and Mining, and President of Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), Rafael Ramirez, in January established a working group to study the feasibility of the proposal “based on the productive strengths of the region beyond oil, to strengthen the industrial infrastructure of our nations, establishing new areas of economic exchange, with conditions that can be agreed between governments.”
According to Minister Ramirez, so far PetroCaribe has built an oil infrastructure capacity of its own in the region, which facilitates the sovereign management of energy resources, through 13 joint ventures in 10 countries ensuring storage capacity, processing and transportation of hydrocarbons. Petrocaribe has 4 refinery plants in Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Also, there is support to the construction and widening of power plants in countries like Nicaragua. Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Petrocaribe now consists of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela.