Petro Caribe initiative marks tenth anniversary

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Updated: June 29, 2015

Today, several government representatives and stakeholders gathered at the compound of Alba Petro Caribe office on Coney Drive to officially commemorate the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the start of the Petro Caribe program. On hand was Prime Minister, Dean Barrow and the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize, Yoel Perez Marcano. Barrow gave his special message of Solidarity with PetroCaribe.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I think it’s a great day, certainly in my view, a majority of people are extremely grateful for the Petro Caribe program and it gives us a chance to commend that program, congratulate those that are making it happen and to pay tribute to the memory of Commandante Hugo Chavez.

Reporter

“Has the government any plans in terms of commercial investments to pay the Petro Caribe loan back in the future instead of only depending on government revenue?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No I don’t think that was the vision of Commandante Chavez at all. This money is not to be used for commercial purposes, it is to be used for quality of life improvement but generally the economy is performing well. It’s been going, the last quarter it was seven percent so by way of our taxes, the government ought to able to very easily service the Petro Caribe debt so that as I said, we retain the option to use Petro Caribe monies to refinance our commercial debt and if we did that, that will then mean that as an in the round our debt service burden will be far less than it is now as a consequence of wise stewardship and proper  use within the accepted use of the parameters of the Petro Caribe funds.

Reporter

“Did we also reserve the option to barter with Venezuela using Agricultural products? Is that something that we have considered in terms of repayment?” 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“They’ve been trying to work at it but it’s not been easy to get that off the ground. It’s still an option that’s there that if the conditions are right we would want to pursue. It takes a little bit of doing and so those including Mr. Mencias and our Ambassador Designate to Venezuela Ms. Louanne Burns who have tried to operationalize that have not succeeded so far.”

The Petrocaribe initiative was launched on June 29, 2005 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.