President of PetroCaribe and the ALBA Bank, Bernado Alvarez. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Venezuela has again restated its commitment to PetroCaribe, Caracas’ oil initiative with several Latin American and Caribbean countries that sees them purchasing fuel on terms of preferential payment, with some of the funds going to social development programme in participating nations.

President of PetroCaribe and the ALBA Bank, Bernado Alvarez, restated Venezuela’s commitment to the initiative on Tuesday at the inauguration of a US$31.6 million 34,000-barrel fuel storage facility in Lowmans Bay, built with PetroCaribe funds.

The fuel depot will increase from 10 to 40 days the national storage of fuel for all purposes. Alternately, the fuel can meet the country’s electricity generation needs for three months, triple the previous capacity.

Alvarez said that amidst “all this campaign against” PetroCaribe, Venezuela, and its president, Nicolas Maduro, the depot “is the proof that PetroCaribe is here to stay, and, as President Maduro said recently, to expand and we wish PetroCaribe the best future”.

There have been concerns about whether PetroCaribe will continue amidst growing economic strain in Venezuela that some observers have blamed on poor fiscal policy, while other have claimed an attempt to undermine the Maduro administration.

Alvarez noted PetroCaribe’s objectives: energy security, social and economic development, and regional integration.

“As you see, we have done a lot and we have a huge task ahead,” he said of the initiative, which will be a decade old in June.

“… and if you see what we have done and you see the challenges ahead, there is a bright future for us. It is the right moment to enhance, to support PetroCaribe. And for that, I think we have to thank first, the vision of President Chavez, second the vision of PM Ralph [Gonsalves], and of course, the persistence, the hard work, the patience of all of us that have been involved in the project,” he said.

Storage tanks at the fuel depot in Lowmans Bay. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Storage tanks at the fuel depot in Lowmans Bay. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves and Vice President of Venezuela Jorge Arreaza also attended the event.

“PM we are here, vice President, we are here, we are happy to be inaugurating this plant, this is a much more strong PetroCaribe for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Hemisphere, for the Eastern Caribbean countries, and for regional integration,” Alvarez said.

He lauded the name of the fuel depot — The Hugo Chavez Fuel Storage and Distribution Plant, as the best name for the facility.

“We are here because of his (Chavez’s) vision and his persistence. And, in a way, PM, we are starting over, because the whole idea of the PetroCaribe agreement at the beginning was to give countries energy security. And part of the energy security was to have its own capabilities in storage. And this is what we are achieving today.

“So, in a way, PM, we can say we are starting over,” Alvarez said.

PetroCaribe was started under the presidency of Chavez, who died in March 2013.

2 replies on “US$32m fuel depot in SVG shows Venezuela’s commitment to PetroCaribe”

  1. Don’t be silly, this project was started before Chavez died, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the present situation with PetroCaribe being in trouble today.

    In fact I suspect the money for the project has come from the “PeteroCaribe SVG Ltd” account, and if I am right, that money will have to be paid back with interest.

    The Venezuelans owe us a huge amount of money. Remember Chavez came here and insulted the US president by calling him names on the rostrum, at the delight of Gonsalves who clapped and laughed. The St. George Medicail school pulled of SVG and the has cost us US$35 million a year since. They reneged on the Cubans wages and currently owe us $34million. We are getting some benefit from the new medical schools, all put together they do not spent anything like US$35 million a year.

    Venezuela promised to pay for all the plant and equipment at the Argyle airport they paid the first $10 million and since then we have had to pay for the equipment a sum of $75 million.

    Between the Venezuelans bilking what they owe us, bilking on their fiscal promises to us. Join that with what the Cubans have done to us, taken 10 years to complete a 3 year project, they have managed to bankrupt our tiny postage sized country. Of course neither of them could have inflicted those wounds on us if they were not brought here in the first place by PM Gonsalves.

    People in Venezuela are starving and the shops, stores and supermarkets are bare. Yet the Venezuelan government are giving Caribbean and central South American countries special credit terms via PetroCaribe. The Venezuelan people starve whilst all these countries help the Venezuelan government turn the whole of Venezuela into a giant concentration camp. We in Saint Vincent should be ashamed of ourselves, this is not how Marxist solidarity should work, taking from the mouths of Venezuelan people to fatten us, to boost the ego’s of our leaders.

    The sooner we get rid of our present regime in SVG, and the people topple Maduro in Venezuela the better, but not just for us, it will also be a relief for the world to rid itself of such burdensome people nasty people, and let the people take their lives and destinies back, they deserve better.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Peter, what is going to become of us when Venezuela implodes over the next 12 months and the new regime demands that we pay back all the PetroCaribe dollars we owe them?

    How are ever going to pay them back when we can’t pay our own internal debts? We can’t even offer then English lessons because most of our teachers are only able to speak Creole English.

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